Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, is calling for the kind of public/private partnerships that are necessary for sustainable development to take place.

She made these comments while addressing a high-level meeting entitled: Fostering Private Sector Partnerships for SIDS at Hilton Barbados last Tuesday.

Senator McClean said for sustainable development to take place in small island developing states (SIDS), there must be close collaboration with the private sector.

???In our SIDS countries, some of the key sectors critical to our sustained economic growth???include agriculture, fisheries, marine resources, transport and information and communication technologies. For Barbados, we consider it imperative that the appropriate framework be created to foster an enabling environment for these vital private sector activities, especially in light of their potential for contributing to promoting a green economy,??? she noted.

Senator McClean further stated: ???We believe this is possible for other SIDS as well. I would want to suggest that beyond traditional productive sectors, it is important that conditions are created which encourage businesses to utilise indigenous materials and local knowledge and thus, lend themselves to being sustainable.???

The Foreign Minister said Barbados had seen a number of creative entrepreneurs that had attempted to blend local raw materials into their creations in the manufacturing sector.

The challenge with this initiative Senator McClean pointed out, was the unwillingness of local businesses to use those products, preferring instead to import. Making reference to one such manufacturer, she said the entrepreneur had indicated marginal support from the tourism sector.

???The notion is that it is cheaper to import something which is perhaps less attractive aesthetically and in terms of quality. But at the end of the day, the focus was simply on the bottom line???If we are simply talking about sustainability, there has to be collaboration… ??not only within sectors because we are talking about across SIDS, but within the context of our individual countries.” the Foreign Minister underlined.

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