Gov’t Making Strides Towards Creating a Green Economy

By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker 
Photo by: Mark BellMinister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill (centre), looks on as Barbados’ Minister of Environment, Water Resources, and Drainage, Dr. the Hon. Denis Lowe (2nd left), exchanges a ‘high five’ with Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP), Asad Naqvi (right). Occasion was the official opening of the second Caribbean Green Economy Conference, on February 23, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. Also sharing the moment are: St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Hon. Clayton Burgin (2nd right); and Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing, Environment and Trade, Hon. Claude Logan.

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says the Government is making strides towards creating a green economy, by increasing investment in renewable energy projects and instituting several energy efficiency programmes.

“Our latest figures are that 9.7 per cent of all of Jamaica’s energy consumption including electricity, transportation fuels, and other forms comes from renewable sources, and that number is increasing,” he noted.

“To date, 5.7 per cent of electricity generation comes from renewable sources,” he added, while addressing the launch of the second Caribbean Green Economy Conference on February 23, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.

Mr. Pickersgill further informed that ground has been broken for new facilities that will more than double Jamaica’s renewable generation capacity in the next few years, and the country is working towards 20 per cent renewables by the year 2030 as outlined in the National Energy Policy.

“Growth in the renewable energy sector will have win-win effects in climate change mitigation, reduce air pollution and increase employment opportunities,” he said.

Mr. Pickersgill informed that Cabinet recently approved the Climate Change Policy Framework, which will be tabled in Parliament shortly as a White Paper.

He said action plans for key economic sectors, including energy and transportation, will be developed in the 2015/16 financial year and these will give full consideration to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

In the meantime, Barbados’ Minister of Environment, Water Resources, and Drainage, Dr. the Hon. Denis Lowe, said without a dynamic focus on partnership, achieving a green economy in the Caribbean would be “a far-stretch”.

“And the partners will have to be people, who totally embrace the principle of change, not only in terms of our economic platforms, but change in terms of the social interplay in our societies, and of course, our environmental standards,” he stated.

The three-day Caribbean Green Economy Conference is a collaborative initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of the West Indies, with the support of the European Union.

It is being attended by several Ministers of Environment from across the region including Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, and has also attracted participants from civil society, academia and the private sector.

The aim is to enable the establishment of the regional green economy network, as a platform for sharing national experiences and further strengthening intra-Caribbean cooperation in the area of green economy.

The green economy is defined as an economy that results in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.  It embodies key concepts such as low carbon development, resource efficiency, and social justice and equity.


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