by Marlon Madden
Government is in the process of raising millions of dollars as part of a US$20 million prize money for a coral restoration competition.
The Mia Mottley-led administration recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Xprize, a non-profit organisation that prides itself on designing and operating incentive competitions “to solve humanity’s grand challenges”, to jointly raise the prize money for the Xprise Coral Restoration competition.
The competition, which will span several years, is intended to identify innovation needed to “restore the earth’s coral reefs at an unprecedented speed and scale” through one of the world’s single largest ever coral restoration efforts.
Competitors are expected to successfully restore coral reef within a two-year period over a minimum area of three hectares, with at least three different types of corals.
Addressing the launch of a recent conference by the global environmental conservation and economic empowerment group – Athletes, Conservationists, Technologists, Artists and innovators (ACTAI) Global, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the partnership was critical since coral degradation was too great an issue to ignore.
“So we are now in the process of seeking to help Xprize raise the money so that we can have that innovation,” said Mottley, who added that “the ability to be able to reward innovation with a prize as significant as US$20 million I think will do well for all of the rest of us.”
Mottley said she was hoping the initiative would be successful so that it could be replicated in other regions and territories with similar challenges.
Stressing the need for partnership, Mottley said her government would also be seeking to attract people to the island to live and carry out research.
“It is going to take a combined partnership to start to move the needle and to do the urgent action,” she said.
Pointing to the need to use up more of the island’s ocean space, Mottley said she hoped the Xprize competition “will allow us to highlight to the world that we are not only concerned about coral reef degradation and destruction, but we are serious about doing something about it.”
“We believe that Barbados can be one of those places where research can continue,” added Mottley, while indicating that it was her wish for Barbados to be home to a hurricane hunter post.