Skills Development Programme into second stage

The Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the second phase of the Barbados Professional Skills Development Programme on Monday.

Chief of Operations for Barbados and the eastern Caribbean at the IDB, Jean-Eric Theinhardt said the programme was designed to educate officials in the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification and Green and Blue Economy (MENB) about how to support and implement maritime policies and strategies.

“The programme builds on the findings and recommendations of the Blue Economy Institutional Capacity Assessment conducted in March 2021, which identified three overarching priorities: enhancing intra-agency coordination capacities, implementing the BE (Blue Economy) policy and supporting the execution of the BE roadmap. Hence, it aims at supporting the creation of new skills needed to improve the coordination capacities of the MENB in its role of leading the national BE growth and development agenda,” he said.

The three-day programme consists of three elective courses – Marine Protected Areas, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainable Ocean Finance. It is a part of the Blue Economy’s 2021 Strategic Roadmap project to access and use marine resources under Barbados’ jurisdiction in order to contribute to the economy without harming marine ecosystems.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Sonia Foster highlighted the Government’s debt conversion transaction between IDB and the Nature Conservancy that formed the Barbados Environmental Sustainability Fund (BESF).

“The BESF will build on the capital being made available by the operation and will use its resources to fund a series of key marine conservation projects, administer the endowment fund, and commit to protecting and sustainably managing up to 30 per cent of Barbados’s exclusive economic zone and territorial sea of more than 185 000 square kilometres,” she said.

She added that the BESF would ensure the successful development of projects using the country’s local resources.

“The overarching goal of the Barbados Environmental Sustainability Fund will be to promote the maintenance, sustainable use, and growth of Barbados’ natural capital by making grants to non-profit organisations, community-based organisations, government agencies, and the private sector for relevant environmental and sustainable development projects,” Foster said.

Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde was unable to attend the ceremony which was held at Baobab Towers in St Michael, but Foster reassured participants that he was supportive of the programme. (RT)

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