Little Bay, Montserrat, Wednesday 11, November 2020: A new wave of economic thought referred to as the 'Blue Economy' has recently emerged from the kaleidoscope of coloured economies (green, brown, black, orange). This approach encourages better stewardship of our ocean or 'blue' resources by highlighting the close linkages between the ocean, climate change, and the wellbeing of people. It also seeks to promote economic growth and diversification, social inclusion, and the security of coastal livelihoods, while ensuring the environmental sustainability of ocean and coastal areas”.
Based on the Blue Economy’s potential to promote sustainable development, and encourage economic empowerment for women and vulnerable groups, UNDP
Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is working within the region to harness this “new” economy. Most recently, UNDP is collaborating with the Government of Montserrat to undertake a rapid preliminary assessment of the status of Montserrat’s Blue Economy, which can help to build a snapshot of the island's current blue wealth and productivity. Head of the UNDP Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Accelerator Lab, Ms. Nikola Simpson, informed that the Blue Economy Scoping Study (BESS) “assessment will look to uncover the constraints of developing a more productive blue economy and assess the potential for generating greater value, creating equitable blue growth, and promoting climate resilience.” Speaking to the future benefits of such an initiative she noted, “The Blue Economy has the capability to support Montserrat’s COVID-19 economic response through support to micro, small and medium - sized enterprises (MSMEs) and provides vast opportunities for encouraging innovative grassroots solutions while creating a gender responsive and inclusive blue space”.
UNDP Barbados and Eastern Caribbean has already supported Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, and Barbados with similar studies over the past two years. In Montserrat, a cross-section of consultants with varying backgrounds and expertise will be undertaking the rapid scoping assessment over the next two months.
Montserrat’s Minister of Agriculture, Housing, Lands and the Environment, Mr. Crenston Buffonge explained that, “over the next two weeks, the BESS team will be conducting stakeholder consultations, foresight and visioning exercises, key informant interviews, and a gender analysis. The team will also be disseminating a survey that seeks to gauge the level of awareness of key stakeholders of the blue economy concept and to determine interest in/and or barriers perceived to hinder blue growth and achieving gender equality and equity in the blue economy. This study is timely given our commitment to private sector development as well as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 14, Life below water.”
Adding to this overview, focal point for the project and Director of Agriculture, Ms. Melissa O’Garro added that “the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to supporting UNDP and the team of consultants in implementing the scoping exercise and we look forward to the results of the study that will inform the strategic direction towards a sustainable, equitable and resilient blue economy in Montserrat.”
A Virtual Consultation is scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, 11th November 2020, at 7 pm ECT. All members of the public are invited to participate. Confirmation of interests, attendance, and inquiries can be provided directly to Veta Wade, via email address firstname.lastname@example.org.