Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (FP)??

The degradation and biodiversity programmes will play pivotal roles in Barbados’ quest to become a green economy.

Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said the basis for the green economy was the recognition of the fragility of Barbados’ ecosystems or its biodiversity and their maintenance to ensure enhanced economic performance.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a workshop on Sustainable Land Management at the Savannah Hotel last Friday, Dr. Lowe said land degradation was occurring in the Scotland District and the limestone region.

"The Scotland District is naturally prone to land slippage due to its geological structure, aggravated by inappropriate construction and agricultural activity," the Minister added.

And, he noted, there was also equal damage to the limestone areas. Those problems, he noted were attributed to human activity such as inappropriate agricultural practices, overgrazing, soil removal and relocation, inappropriate land-use management and encroachment of settlements and other physical developments.

Noting that the Scotland District accounted for one-eighth of the island’s surface, and formed a major part of the proposed National Park, Dr. Lowe said the re-merging of the land degradation system and the biodiversity programme was one step towards maximising efficiencies using the island’s limited capacities.

"The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources is also consistent with Government’s thrust to establish Barbados as a green economy," he said.

As a result, the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, is undertaking an internal review of its structure and that of its agencies to ensure efficiencies are achieved in the delivery of its services and limited capacities are maximised in the current global economic environment.

Dr. Lowe explained the Sustainable Land Management Project was primarily intended to promote the improvement of management practices, institutional arrangements, policies and incentives aimed at the attenuation of land degradation on fragile and unique ecosystems of small islands in the Caribbean.

The project, being executed by Independent Communications Specialist, Lynette Taylor, is divided into three components by the end of June. Those are, the institutional review of the Soil Conservation Unit, the development of a geographical information system for land management and the development of a communications strategy.

"The communications component is important for matching our message with the target audience," the Minister said.


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