CPDC and GEF SGP Organise Multi-sectoral Dialogue on Renewable Energy

Mar 31, 2016

Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by UNDP organised a roundtable discussion with farmers, policy makers and development partners on renewable energy policies that affect Barbados in the transition to a Green Economy at the UN House on 23rd March 2016. The discussion was the penultimate event of CPDC’s project “Promoting Renewable Energy Production in Farming Communities in Barbados” funded by GEF SGP in 2013.

The event brought together 15 representatives from various sectors, including, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Barbados Renewable Energy Association, Barbados Agricultural Society, Bureau of Gender Affairs and The University of the West Indies to strengthen collaboration across stakeholders by identifying areas which require further support and determine critical policy and other steps needed to enhance sustainable farming practices.

In the opening session, Executive Director of CPDC, Mrs. Shantal Munroe-Knight indicated that the agricultural sector has played, is playing, and can continue to play a critical role in Barbados’ economy. She noted the organisation recognized the importance of focusing on what was happening in the agricultural sector and its role in improving the energy efficiency of agriculture, using appropriate technology.

The overall project seeks to support climate change mitigation efforts and is based on two pillars: providing practical guidance, training and access resources for alternative energy options and water harvesting technologies and supporting policy development and implementation of to encourage local communities to engage in energy and water saving projects.

During the opening of the dialogue, Mr. David Bynoe, National Coordinator (GEF SGP Barbados) relayed that “a number of barriers exist to the effective implementation and widespread use of RETs.”  He noted that two of the key barriers, especially for producers in the agricultural sector, are the capital intensive nature of RETs and lack of awareness.  While growing awareness around the use of RETs has propelled the development of key national policies to encourage its use, particularly as governments seek to align their policies to take advantage of the green economy there is a need for a more concerted sectoral approach.

He added that CPDC’s project supported efforts to introduce practical renewable energy options, improve energy efficiency, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, promote climate change adaptation measures and energy conservation initiatives, and also reduce the island’s exposure to oil price volatility.

The round table discussion served as a valuable platform, enabling participants to share experiences and concerns regarding the country’s policies which inhibit RETs. It was also an opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of RETS, as local farmer, Annette Beckett shared her experiences of transitioning to a RET demonstration farm.

Further discussion at the meeting focused on current policies, keys national and sectoral issues and priorities, the role gender plays in policies, the process and possible implications of current and future policies.

At the end of the event a strategy for enhancing farmers’ voices in national dialogue on renewable energy and the green economy was drafted, through outlining key issues of RETs, prioritizing concerns/challenges and recommending actions. The strategy will be shared formally with the Ministries of Energy, Finance and Agriculture.

Mark Hill, Chief Innovation Officer, Innogen technologies highlights the use of RETs on the demonstration farm
Cross-section of stakeholders participating in the round table discussion
Cecilia Babb, Gender Specialist Consultant, speaks to mainstreaming gender
Cross-section of stakeholders participating in the round table discussion

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