Think tanks to help guide green economy transition

Minister of Labour Colin Jordan addressing the opening of the national symposium on ‘Just Transition and Job Creation in the Green and Blue Economy’.

The government is organising several think tanks to smooth the country’s transition to a green economy, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan announced on Wednesday.

He told the opening of a national symposium on Just Transition and Job Creation in the Green and Blue Economy at the Hilton Barbados Resort that Barbados had to develop an action plan in order to reach its goal of becoming a renewable energy-powered state by 2030.

“The likely negative impact of the climate crisis . . . can compromise our international competitiveness. It can compromise our economic resilience as an island nation,” said Jordan. “We must start working to reskill and to upskill the most vulnerable workers as we consider the creation of jobs in the green and blue economy.

“We ask the important question, ‘how do we move or how do we transition from our current reliance on fossil fuel as the basis of our economy to a cleaner sustainable economy that provides decent work for all?’ . . . The Government of Barbados and its social partners have committed to the creation of a green and new economy that will result in improved human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

As a large ocean state, the labour minister said the focus would be on creating a green and blue economy that will involve real seismic change, which he acknowledged would not be easy.

“It will be no small feat . . . . It will involve the creation and adoption of new technology. We will not only have to transform our work processes but also the way we think and the way we live. All sectors will have to invest in new infrastructure; education and training will also be critical as the change will be people-driven, requiring new knowledge and new skills. Today, we gather not only to acknowledge these challenges but also to harness our collective wisdom and expertise in short, of course, toward a just and sustainable future for all Barbadians.”

The minister said that the implementation strategy must be people-focused.

“The concept of a just transition lies at the heart of all of our deliberations . . . . Our transition must be inclusive, it must be equitable, it must be mindful of the diverse needs of our society. Simply put, it must be human-centred, it must prioritise the well-being of our citizens, particularly those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of environmental degradation and economic dislocation.”

Jordan added that green and blue jobs would be created as well as new opportunities of economic growth.

“These are not mere employment opportunities but pathways to a more sustainable and prosperous future by investing in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, marine conservation, and eco tourism . . . . We can unlock new sources of economic growth whilst they guard our natural resources for future generations. Moreover, these industries have the potential to generate meaningful employment across a range of skill levels – from manual labour to high tech innovation, to research and development.

“Our commitment to a just transition extends beyond job creation. It encompasses the protection of workers’ rights. It encompasses the provision of social safety nets. It encompasses the promotion of lifelong learning and skill development. We must ensure that workers in deploying industries are not left stranded but are supported through retraining, reskilling and redeployment programmes. Furthermore, we must create a regulatory framework that incentivises green and blue investments while holding corporations, [and] businesses generally accountable for the environmental and social impact,” he said.

The symposium is being hosted in collaboration with the United Nations Partnership for Action on Green Economy (UN PAGE) and the International Labour Organisation. The event, which concludes on Friday, includes high-level discussions with national and regional government officials and union delegates. (SZB)

Related posts

Mosquito fair attracts pest killers

Craft market awaits promised redevelopment

On child rights laws we’re finally getting it right

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Privacy Policy