The Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) launched the Marine Spatial Planning process on Wednesday January 18th 2023 at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.
This planning process will lay the groundwork for the management of Barbados’ ocean space (Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)), with technical and financial assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
The Marine Spatial Planning Process (MSP) process builds upon Barbados’ longtime work on marine ecosystems and environmental governance. It is also part of Barbados’ commitments under the debt conversion for nature transaction that the Caribbean country signed in September 2022, backed by a US$150 million guarantee from the IDB and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
A Marine Spatial Planning process entails developing a comprehensive vision for ocean governance involving and including all key stakeholders. The outcome provides guidance for balancing development and conservation interests, as well as addressing the cumulative effects of different human uses of the same space. The MSP also emphasizes the importance of collaboration in organizing the use of marine space, balancing development demands with the need to protect marine ecosystems, conducting planning processes to achieve social and economic goals, and relieving pressures on ocean resources.
Minister of the Environment and National Beautification- Green and Blue Economy, Honorable Adrian Forde, provided the Welcome remarks and credited the CZMU for the exceptional and transformative work the Unit has been doing over the last 40 years. He further stated “Having the full participation of all stakeholders is essential to this process. We need them to share information about our marine space to ensure that equitable consideration is given to all relevant sectors. We recognize that climate change is real and the impact it has for Barbados, especially along its coastal corridors. Life started with biodiversity – and it will die without it.”
Special remarks were given by partners, Dr. Robert Brumbaugh, Executive Director of TNC Caribbean Division and Mrs. Viviana Alva Hart, Country Representative IDB Group in Barbados. Mrs. Alva Hart stated “We are honored by the trust placed in the IDB by the Government of Barbados to support them in their Marine Spatial Plan, a knowledge driven exercise to protect Barbados’ ocean space. Ensuring that global biodiversity remains rich and brings benefits to everyone will require reducing inequalities and strengthening the work being done by island states. With this launch, we are celebrating an important milestone towards achieving Barbados’ sustainability commitments.”
Featured remarks were delivered by Senior Minister the Honorable Kerrie Simmons who stated that our marine space was 425 times our land space and the Barbadian Community needed to see it as the new frontier for investigation, investment, development and preservation. Senior Minister Simmons further stressed that work of the Blue Economy Division was very important and there was a great need for high consultation in order to avoid failure and conflict.
The event concluded with Ms. Sonia Foster, Permanent Secretary, Blue Division of the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification delivering the closing remarks.
The CZMU will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023 and has a number of events in the pipeline to commemorate this milestone. Activities include the popular coastal sundown walk, a treasure hunt, a lionfish derby and lecture series. A full list of the events and their specifications can be found here.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) also produced a press release for the event that can be accessed here.