Acting Minister of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Steve Blackett.??

The Ministry of Environment is actively participating in the designing of a 10-year framework of programmes for sustainable consumption and production which was requested by the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002.

This disclosure has come from the Acting Minister of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Steve Blackett, who pointed out that the Ministry had been nominated to lead the sub-region’s efforts in formulating the Caribbean Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production through the biennium 2010-2011.

He made the comments today at Hotel PomMarine, while addressing the Second Caribbean Dialogue on Caribbean Economic Expansion, Investment and Opportunities Arising from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Mr. Blackett told his audience that his Ministry was of the view that the two-day discussion would assist the region by providing a forum in which the benefits associated with the recently signed EPA could be elaborated.

According to him, the dialogue provided a platform for linking Caribbean people, particularly those resident in Europe, thereby building export trade and investment opportunities. "The involvement of the Caribbean Diaspora, as we all know, is an important aspect of the national, social and economic policy machinery to more effectively involve Caribbean people, wherever they reside, in Caribbean development.

"In the case of Barbados, the Government has designed a new policy directive aimed at restoring the relationship between residents and the tens of thousands of Barbadians living overseas, since the Diaspora is viewed as an integral part of the economic, social and cultural development of this country," the Acting Minister stated.

He added that a Council for Investment, Exports and Foreign Exchange had also been established to support the policy thrust by Government.

According to him, the EPA’s implementation, if done effectively, had implications for every facet of Caribbean development. He continued: "Its implementation, however, requires partnerships. It is, therefore, quite fitting that entities in the private and civil society recognise the opportunity to play a lead catalytic role, if as a region, we are to tap the economic potential that resides in the EPA… The Ministry lauds this dialogue and calls upon the region to come up with and support similar initiatives."

Mr. Blackett suggested that during the policy debate on the EPA, sufficient focus had not been placed on issues such as eco-innovation and environment and its linkages with trade and investment. However, he stressed that his Ministry had attached great significance to those linkages, expressing the view that future development could be compromised if more attention was not paid to those linkages.

"Though we have started on this process with the establishment of a National Sub-Committee on Trade and Environment, much more work needs to be done in bringing these various elements together. These linkages are not only relevant to the EPA, but also to the various negotiations that are ongoing within the World Trade Organisation," he explained.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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