Nassau, Bahamas — The environment plays a major role in the economic growth of The Bahamas was the message delivered to stakeholders from both the Government and private sectors when they gathered at Super Clubs Breezes to discuss issues affecting the environment, Monday, August 12.
As The Bahamas Government makes preparations to meet international standards on the environment, a one-day workshop was held bringing together a cross-section of agencies to discuss issues facing the environment with a view to creating the necessary framework needed to meet global standards.
Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Kendred Dorsett delivered the keynote address.
Calling on all the stakeholders to assist in protecting and preserving the environment, Minister Dorsett said there needs to be a creative framework that enables countries like The Bahamas to set a global agenda that enables collective international action while delivering effective support to national efforts.
“When we consider the three pillars of the state of our development – the economy, the society and the environment – words such as valuable, equitable and fair come to mind.
“In our consideration, it also becomes clear that we cannot consider one without the other. Here in The Bahamas, there is a need for economic growth, which in our context means, physical interaction with the environment.”
He said, “The United Nations report states that per capita income has declined every single year since 2007. In fact, the overall decline has been 15.81 per cent in just four years.”
Minister Dorsett added that the Department of Statistics reported that the number of households making less than $5000 per annum has increased by 83 per cent between 2007 and 2011.
Given these figures, Minister Dorsett said serious efforts must be made in order to ensure the future economic growth of the country.
“With the understanding that change does not come by simply spending more money, we are embarking on a multi-faceted response that places consistent emphasis on the creation of sustainable jobs,” he said.
“It is a challenge to ensure that economic growth is compatible with sustainable development and that our ecosystems are not sacrificed for immediate economic gains.”
Minister Dorsett told the participants that they were essentially asked to meet as a part of a global process of national preparations for the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference with technical support from the United Nations systems and partnership with inter-governmental organisations.
“This process will serve to prepare The Bahamas for other post-2015 related processes, including those related to sustainable development.”
He said the Government is looking for ways to effectively emphasise the importance of the protection of the environment and the conservation of the country’s national resources, oceans and undeveloped land and seek to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels by encouraging the use of alternative energy sources.