A number of non-governmental and community based organisations met today to decide the key areas that Barbados should try to focus $2 million in UN-based funding for environmental and sustainable development on the island.
And coming out of that, several areas, the majority pertaining to biodiversity, have been identified by the groups as the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme listed focal points for coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems, conservation of sustainable use of biological diversity and forest ecosystems as the three most important areas relating to biodiversity as the programme attempts to plan the scope of its initiatives this year.
National Coordinator for GEF SGP, David Bynoe, explained to Barbados TODAY that today’s forum was to help formulate a national strategy to help to determine the priority areas for GEF SGP funding in Barbados for the current operational phase, as well as to establish the framework for working with development partners and the public in creating transformational sustainable impacts in the area of the environment and sustainable development at the community level.
“The country programme strategy is what is used then to mobilise funds, to provide grants to the same NGOs and CBOs, but it is guided by certain priority areas which are normally decided on with a stakeholder consultation. They, being the persons who are going to be grantees, are the key stakeholders who we have to advise and also take some recommendations from.
“In addition to meeting with these NGOs and CBOs, we also would have met with the Government of Barbados, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, several key ministries that would have a part to play in GEF SGP,” he said, adding that even outside of these groups they met with the non-state actors panel that was established via an EU programme.
Beyond the awareness of the GEF SGP programme that was increased today, Bynoe added that they now had suggestions from the key areas including climate change mitigation and adaptation, land degradation, harmful chemicals and persistent organic pollutants and international waters.
“Renewable energy ranked as something very high, also sustainable agriculture and how we consume food and our food security were very crucial to [the participants] as well,” he said adding that representatives were present from agricultural organisations, youth groups and bodies, cultural and civil organisations.
GEF SGP started as a programme for Barbados and the OECS, with Barbados being the highest performing country in the grouping, being able to best mobilise funds, he said. This resulted in a change in the programming, from US$1 million funding for all the islands, to Barbados having its own programme with US$2 million, along with $180,000 from USAID for community based projects.
Bynoe said beyond biodiversity, climate change mitigation and land degradation were the other most popular areas for project-based funding. (LB)