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Report calls for intervention in five areas


By Amanda Nieves

The newly released Human Development Report 2011 calls for interventions in five key areas that promote environmental sustainability and equity.

This was explained by United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, at the launch of the Report held at UN House here in Barbados yesterday.

She said that the Report shows that government, civil society, the private sector and development partners can work together to integrate environmental and equity concerns to bring about strategies that address environmental degradation and build resilience.

“For Barbados, the report highlights interventions that can be seen as win-win strategies to ensure that the balance between the environment, equity and human development are achieved. The recommendations for global actions fall within five key areas,” she explained.

These key areas are energy, water access, natural resources, climate change and social protection programmes.

The first area of intervention that was recommended is energy and Gyles-McDonnough explained that the Report calls for a shift to newer and cleaner energy sources.

“For Caribbean countries there are untapped renewable energy sources, the development of, and access to which we must prioritise. This year’s Report emphasises most notably solar, wind power and geothermal energy potential in Latin America and the Caribbean region. As it relates to energy sources, the Report recommends that a strategy undertaken at the national level to broaden energy access must include actions that promote cleaner energy,” she said.

The second area is that of water access, water security and sanitation. Gyles-McDonnough said that many of the impacts of climate change will be felt through water, and therefore the management of water resources is essential to the building of climate resilient livelihoods.

She went on to say that the Report urges governments to ensure that national polices are geared towards increased investment in water and sanitation to ensure that access is improved and sustainable in the long run.

The third area is that of natural resources, and Gyles-McDonnough explained that the Report calls for actions that support community management of natural resources to avoid depletion.

“The Report highlights that successful approaches rely on community management of natural resources, promotion of women’s empowerment… and disaster responses that include community based risk mapping as has been done in the Commonwealth of Dominica…. In addition, the Report recommends locally managed marine areas,” she stated.

The fourth area is that of climate change, which Gyles-McDonnough said that Report indicates that interventions carried out to halt climate change will require a equitable disaster responses and innovative social protection strategies.

“The policy solutions presented in the Report show how community involvement not only empowers poor communities and women, but also taps into the local knowledge and capacities. Engaging women in such decision making processes is key to good governance and full inclusion, and has been proven to improve the equity of outcomes of national and local policies,” the UN Resident Coordinator said.

The final area highlighted in the Report is social protection programmes, where evidence is given to show that social protection programmes, through assistance and transfers, can enhance the capacity of the poor and vulnerable to escape poverty and manage risks.

“It calls for innovative approaches to social protection, highlighting that several countries, including those in the Caribbean, have been successful in combating poverty,” she said.

Gyles-McDonnough ended by stating that the United Nations Development Programme is committed to supporting the Government of Barbados in its preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at Rio+20 that takes place in June 2012.

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