As a small island state of only 431 km2, Barbados is limited in natural resources and is particularly vulnerable to global climate change and natural disasters. Barbados is one of the most prosperous Caribbean islands, due to successful economic diversification and a transition from an agricultural-based economy to a service-based one. The country has also invested significantly in social development and inclusion, and benefits from high rates of literacy.
However, the recent global financial and economic crises have slowed growth, and dependence on imported fossil fuels is putting pressure on both the economy and the environment.
Barbados’ National Strategic Plan (2006-2025) provides a framework for Barbados becoming a fully developed society that is prosperous, socially just and globally competitive. The National Strategic Plan advances six strategic goals in pursuit of the national vision for 2025. Goal four of the NSP speaks specifically of “Building a Green Economy: Strengthening the Physical Infrastructure and Preserving the Environment”.
Opportunities for Inclusive Green Economy
In 2012, a collaboration green economy scoping study conducted bybetween UNEP in collaboration withand the Government of Barbados, together with the University of the West Indies, produced a scoping study known as the Barbados Green Economy Scoping Study (GESS), in which consists of the identification of key greening opportunities. The GESS became the starting point of the scoping study produced policy and project proposals, the Barbados Green Economy Roadmap, a mix of policy and project proposals, which includes sectoral and national opportunities for green and inclusive growth.
The Government has identified the following priorities for continued efforts towards green economy with PAGE support: 1) undertake a feasibility study for the establishment of a SIDS-SIDS green economy Knowledge Transfer Platform; 2) develop a policy framework for greening the manufacturing sector to mainstream resource efficiency and promote eco-innovation; 3) conduct a “green and decent” jobs assessment and establish a green skills development support programme; and 4) establish a set of indicators to support monitoring of green economy policies.
The scoping study included the analysis of five sectors, namely agriculture, fisheries, housing, transport and tourism.
The Government of Barbados has committed high-level and cross-sectoral support to pursuing a green economy. The Minister of Environment and Drainage, the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, and the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development are spearheading efforts to green the economy with PAGE support.
(…) “It must be recalled that in March 2009, our late Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced his vision for Barbados becoming and quote "the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean". My Government continues to be committed to that vision and the emphasis at this point is to consolidate and elevate its efforts to engage business and consumers in its road to "Greening". Conceptually, in the Barbadian context, the Green Economy is defined as: ".. .an integrated production, distribution, consumption, and waste assimilation system that, at its core, reflects the fragility of our small island ecosystems." - Barbadian Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart
Building on Ongoing Programs with PAGE Partners
Barbados has begun its path towards a green economy in partnership with UNEP and in collaboration with other small island states and regional efforts. A green economy scoping study completed in 2012, led by the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus and in cooperation with UNEP and the Government of Barbados, laid the ground work for identifying green economy opportunities in Barbados. The scoping study relied on an inclusive and multi-stakeholder governance mechanism, sector reviews including quantitative and qualitative analysis, a national validation exercise, and a regional knowledge sharing forum.
In addition to work with UNEP on the scoping study, Barbados is also engaged with UNIDO in the context of various proposals that resulted from the study.