Minister of the Environment, Denis Kellman, addressing the launch of Environment Month at the Bellairs Research Institute. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Environment Month 2011: Living Sustainably…Towards a Green Economy, was officially launched last Friday evening on the grounds of the Bellairs Research Institute, Folkestone, St. James. ??In his feature address, Minister of the Environment ??Denis Kellman, stressed that the relationship between the Institute and its neighbour, the Folkstone Park and Marine Reserve, served to illustrate the importance of partnerships for environmental progress.

Mr. Kellman pointed out that alliances and outreach in various sectors were both vital ingredients to the Ministry’s efforts to increase environmental awareness.

"The Ministry has an Adopted Schools programme where 95 per cent of our agencies work closely with specific schools in carrying out extracurricular activities.?? With respect to community-based institutions and non-governmental organisations, partnerships are supported through our Fund for Non-Profit Organisations.?? This Fund represents a major avenue through which the Ministry is able to empower ordinary citizens to take an active role in national environmental management.?? To date, over 30 community-based organisations and NGOs have benefited from this mechanism," he said.

The Environment Minister indicated the launch of Environment Month also coincided with the official launch of the Bellairs Research Festival, and observed that the association between the two institutions would carry on into the future.

"2011 marks the 30-year anniversary for Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve as the only legislated protected area in Barbados… these two entities are not only physically close, but mutually supportive in their stated goals.???? It is, therefore important that we promote enhanced collaboration between Bellairs and Folkestone.?? Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve in fact, represents a marine-based platform to build sustainable livelihood opportunities for coastal stakeholders, [and] promotes a protected areas policy, while directing strategic areas for research intervention in Barbados and other Caribbean Small Island States. Synergies with Bellairs and other tertiary institutions can assist in achieving such a mission," he underscored.

Mr. Kellman also mentioned that the marine reserve played an important role in social and economic development – such as the Junior Coral Reef Ambassadors Programme and the mooring system at the Vauxhall Reef which serves as a popular stop for watercrafts.

"I am aware of the work previously conducted under the purview of my Ministry by the consulting group Axys Environmental Consulting on the role of marine protected areas in the context of sustainable coastal tourism development in Barbados.?? As such, I will be establishing a tactical committee to review, identify and prioritise various elements of the redevelopment proposals for implementation.?? It is my view, that the establishment of the Folkestone Reserve and its continued contribution to environmental stewardship is a symbol worthy of national, regional and global recognition," he explained.

Environment Month will be celebrated throughout June with a series of activities, ranging from workshops and seminars to ???green readings’ and coastal walks, hosted by the various departments within the Ministry.


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