4b Green Economy Initiatives in the Caribbean by Michael Witter-University of the West Indies-Jamaica


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Mr Michael Witter (Senior research fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, University of the West Indies, Jamaica), presented on Green Economy Initiatives in the Caribbean. Presentation delivered at the OECD ENVIRONET EXPERT WORKSHOP: GREEN GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND POLICY; as part of the 16th ENVIRONET meeting in Paris.

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4b Green Economy Initiatives in the Caribbean by Michael Witter-University of the West Indies-Jamaica

  1. 1. Green Economy Initiatives in the Caribbean Presentation to Expert Workshop on Green Growth and Development Planning and Policy Michael Witter SALISES, UWI, Mona and CANARI
  2. 2. Visions and Plans • Governments are committing themselves to building green economies in their long term plans for sustainable development – Jamaica has prepared Vision 2030 – Barbados has committed itself to being the most environmentally advanced ‘green country in Latin America and the Caribbean” – Since then, it has drafted a scoping study for a green economy as part of a UNEP project that envisions similar studies for Jamaica, St. Lucia and Haiti
  3. 3. Visions and Plans • Dominica Organic Development Policy Framework and low carbon climate resilient development strategy • Saint Lucia developing a national vision • Grenada Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy • Dominican Republic Climate Compatible Development Strategy • British Virgin Islands environmental mainstreaming • Trinidad and Tobago valuation of ecosystem services into national accounting
  4. 4. Visions and Plans • Guyana has adopted a “low carbon development strategy” • Cuba’s organic agricultural revolution has recovered the lost ground in food supply with the fall-out of the USSR support
  5. 5. Renewable energy • The rising cost of energy is forcing the region to look more to renewable sources – Wind, hydro, ethanol in Jamaica • Clean Development Mechanism for Wigton Wind Farm – Hydro in Guyana and Suriname – Wind in St. Kitts – Possibilities for geo-thermal in St.Lucia – Research on ocean thermal • Even with these, efficient use of hydrocarbon energy will continue to be a high priority
  6. 6. Tourism • Green Globe – now EarthCheck • Largest Anglo Caribbean owned hotel chain, Sandals, has achieved certification for several of its hotels, and is pursuing several projects for increased efficiency of energy consumption – Changing out incandescent light bulbs – Solar hearing of water in the laundry – Efficient use of water • Driven by market demand for environmentally friendly facilities
  7. 7. Agriculture and Foresty • CDM for Guyana and Belize – selling forest services as carbon sinks • Organic agriculture – Cuba, Jamaica • Windward Islands – Dominica, St.Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent Martinique - fair trade bananas • Local communities co manage forests with the State, for sustainable livelihoods
  8. 8. Natural Resources • Caribbean has traditionally been based on natural resource intensive economies – export agriculture, mineral export, tourism – By extension agriculture and tourism are huge consumers of water • Challenge is to increase the efficiency of use for sustainability
  9. 9. Private business • Initiatives in: – tourism across the region – Organic and fair-trade bananas – Construction in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica – Recent announcement by Richard Branson for climate finance for the region
  10. 10. Equity • Caribbean countries insist that the green economy has equity and the fight against poverty as centrepieces of the strategies • Poverty rates are high in the region, especially since the global crisis of 2008 – upwards of 20% for many countries • Governments are most keen on employment and equity, as urgent short-run issues • Logistics hub in Jamaica – threat to Ramsar site Portland Bight
  11. 11. Regional Strategy • CARICOM’s Regional Framework for achieving development resilient to climate change, 2009-2015 – Implemented by the 5Cs – Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre • UNEP’s green economy programme for the Caribbean – Centre of excellence for GEI – Assessing potential for green economy – Establishing a regional multi-stakeholder knowledge sharing platform • Caribbean Regional renewable energy programme – Established in 1998 to reduce emissions and build renewable energy industry; coordinate national renewable energy plans
  12. 12. Challenges • Some governments have expressed fears that green growth criteria might bring non-tariff barriers against Caribbean trade with the advanced countries • Very high debt burdens limit public sector investment in greening, especially where countries are preoccupied with short run adjustments associated with IMF agreements
  13. 13. Challenges • Caribbean SIDS are vulnerable to natural hazards and shocks from global markets – Some island states face the challenge of existence in the face of sea level rise • Hence building resilience to these shocks has become a priority – Disaster Risk Reduction – Diversification of international relations
  14. 14. Green economy • Developing renewable energy • Building resilience to economic and climate shocks • Adapting to climate change • Promoting economic growth for employment and equity – Sustainable tourism
  15. 15. CANARI • CANARI has been leading the way in articulating what a green economy in the Caribbean is – 2010-2012: CANARI facilitated a Caribbean regional dialogue process under the auspices of the Green Economy Coalition – Established a Green Economy Action Learning Group • Currently, executing a Caribbead Development Bank project on transitioning to a green economy in the Caribbean
  16. 16. GE ALG Steering Committee GE ALG members Networks of GE ALG members
  17. 17. Current Research • Green economy development is a nuanced difference from OECD’s focus on green growth – Using OECD’s framework for assessing green growth as a starting point for an analagous framework for assessing the impact of the greening of the economy • Scoping studies are being supported by UNEP with EU funding