Barbados will continue to implement measures to assist in building resilience in the face of the ‘perennial menace’, climate change.
Speaking at the 44th Sir Winston Scott Memorial Lecture: ‘Human Life is Not Negotiable: Why We Must Act Now on Climate Change‘, Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, highlighted some of the measures Government is taking to help build resilience to climate change.
Minister Prescod stated: “The Prime Minister has launched a major national initiative to support our resilience building, in the face of the increased threats of climate change, through the ‘Roofs to Reefs’ programme, [which] intends to enhance the resilience of low and middle income householders to extreme weather events.”
He added: “The ‘Roofs to Reefs’ programme will also seek to augment freshwater resources and reduce the pollutant load affecting our nearshore ecosystems, in a valiant attempt to restore our coral reefs along the west and south coasts of the island.”
Another measure the Minister of Environment highlighted would be the scaling up of its focus on climate education among the youth. This will be done in partnership with the United Nations Supported Partnership for Action on Green Economy.
Mr. Prescod pointed out that “our young people will be the decision-makers and policy designers, who will have to grapple with, and find workable solutions, for addressing the predicted vagaries of climate change. It is therefore important that we encourage them to raise their voices from the outset”.
The Minister disclosed that planting one million trees across Barbados as an adaptation mechanism would be another measure. He said this would be taking place as part of the “We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020: Building Our Future Together” initiative.
The initiative itself is two-fold, as it would also seek to address Barbados’ ability to feed citizens.
As President of the Forum of Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Prescod noted that he and fellow Ministers of Environment of this region have agreed to promote, among other things, the planning and implementation of adaptation measures based on risk indices and indicators, while also building capacity and the exchange of experiences, in monitoring the adaptation to climate change.
In addition, he stated that his counterparts are committed to strengthening regional cooperation within the framework of Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Platform for Cooperation on Climate Change, through capacity building and partnership.
Minister Prescod also took the time during his remarks to honour the memory of Sir Winston Scott, noting he was Barbados’ first native Governor General, and someone who, by his chosen profession in the medical field, firmly believed that quality of life is neither negotiable, nor negligible.
He encouraged those present to seek and share knowledge about climate change which could assist in developing adaptation measures to climate change, thereby ensuring the survival of future generations.
Sheena Forde-Craig, BGIS