(FP)

The draft Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan will be used to bring about change in managing Barbados’ coastlines.

In addition, according to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Sonia Foster, the Coastal Zone Management Unit will be seeking to amend the Coastal Zone Management Act following the extensive review and feedback on the plan over the coming weeks.

Speaking during the virtual national launch of a series of public enquiries to encourage discussion on the draft plan this morning, Ms. Foster noted that the plan outlined detailed outcomes for coastal zone management.

These, she said, included the achievement of sustainable socio-economic development, improved management of coastal resources, increased adaptive capacity to manage climate and disaster risk, coordinated governance of ICZM and strengthening its delivery in all relevant sectors.

“Beyond managing and protecting the coastal zones, the outcomes from the plan will incorporate additional management of areas relating to beach point access, flood mitigation measures, the high water mark and building lines,” she pointed out.

The Permanent Secretary stressed that Barbados’ coasts and sea were its main assets outside of its people, as they provided support for much of the island’s tourism economic activity, food and protection from erosion.

However, she cautioned that this natural asset was being threatened by climate change and climate-related disasters.

“A recent study has shown that over 70 per cent of our reefs have been negatively impacted by bleaching outbreaks that occurred in 2005. It is not only climate change that is threatening our coast, but also immediate issues such as pollution and damage caused by boat and ship activity.

“It is therefore only obvious that we must have strategic and comprehensive plans to protect this precious natural resource,” Ms. Foster maintained.

She described the development of the ICZM plan as a significant achievement for Barbados, noting that it aligned with the Ministry’s and Government’s mandate of preserving the island’s blue ecosystem through the development of best practices for sustainability and the protection of the marine environment.

“This plan is therefore a critical step as we seek to provide the framework to guide a coordinated and integrated response to coastal zone management.

This would allow all of us to be aware of the current situation relating to coastal zone management, our plans to improve it and the way forward for its development,” Ms. Foster said.

The draft ICZM plan is the culmination of a Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme which started in 2011 as a project done by the Government in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank.

Today’s launch was also addressed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Director of the CZMU, Dr. Leo Brewster.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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