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Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe

Barbados is expected to give a comprehensive review of its achievements since the 1992 Rio Conference during a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference at the Hilton Barbados on Wednesday, May 9 at 9:00 a.m.

During that meeting, Barbados will join with countries from across Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific, to discuss the challenges experienced in the 20 years since the 1992 Rio Conference, and establish a collective position on what will be presented during the upcoming Rio +20 Conference slated for June 20-22.

Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said Barbados was fortunate as the country stepped up to the plate in meeting some of its goals set under the Rio concept.

"Our biggest achievement will be our work on the green economy, and the green economy is the central vehicle for achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development talks about economic growth and development, – it talks about social development and equality, reduction of poverty, access to clean drinking water, sanitation services, and it talks about environmental sustainability," he said.

The Minister added that Barbados also set a good example with its integrated solid waste management programme which was the most leading edge programme in the region.

"A lot of the SIDS countries are concerned about the treatment of waste. We have gone beyond that to create a template where we have come up with a system for the disposal of waste..," Dr. Lowe said.

However, he noted that Barbados was not just concerned with the disposal of waste, but the injection of waste into an energy outcome through the Mangrove Green Energy Complex which dealt with waste production, utilisation and waste conversion into energy.

In addition, Barbados will also be giving an account of its achievements in the area of combating climate change, especially as it relates to coastal challenges. Dr. Lowe stressed that this country had one of the best coastal protection and rehabilitation programmes in the region and Latin America.

"There are several countries coming to talk with us if not about the sale of services, but also the exchange of services," the Minister said, noting he just held talks with the Minister of the Environment of Belize regarding the island’s coastal programme.

He added that Barbados has also addressed the threat to agriculture as a result of climate change, with a view to increasing food production, and decreasing the dependency on toxic agricultural products like herbicides and pesticides, and the re-introduction of arable land into production.

"Since Rio, what we have also done is we have created a legislative framework to protect the environment. The Coastal Zone Management Act is in place. We have the Marine Pollution Prevention Act in place with regulations coming soon, and we are drafting a new Sanitation Service Act to be separate from the Environmental Management Act," Dr. Lowe said.

He added that 18 incentives were also introduced to encourage small businesses and other businesses to become involved in the greening of the economy, through the establishment of green businesses

"These are all mechanisms that would have grown out of the Barbados Programme of Action established in 1994 in response to the Rio meeting in 1992," Dr. Lowe said.

He added that it was hoped that at the end of Wednesday’s SIDS meeting, those present would establish a unified position on what they wanted to bring to Rio.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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