Antigua & Barbuda falls within one of the sub-regions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
One of the initiatives coordinated by our sub-regional office located in Trinidad was a three-day workshop themed “Developing policies and programmes to promote green jobs and green enterprises in Trinidad and Tobago,” which commenced May 7. The workshop’s opening remarks delivered by Minister of Labour and Small Micro Enterprise Development in Trinidad & Tobago Errol McLeod, along with excerpts from Towards a Green Economy, a report produced by a division of the United Nations (UN) is shared below.
Minister McLeod advised that “the green economy has become an emblem of a more sustainable economy and society that preserves the environment for future generations.”
He also posited that greening one’s economy may be a key stimulus for employment. As we all know, the global financial crisis has been devastating world-wide economies. Therefore moving towards a green economy can increase the potential to enable investments in technologies and infrastructure, for example, on a larger scale.
Another argument to support a green economy is the ongoing climate change, evidenced in the devastation caused by the increased frequencies of hurricanes, tsunamis, and the like.
Deterioration in coastal conditions, for example through erosion of beaches and coral bleaching, increased invasion by non-native species, particularly on mid- and high-latitude islands, reduction of water resources in many small islands, eg in the Caribbean and Pacific, to the point where they become insufficient to meet demands during low rainfall periods by mid 21st century, are just a few of the projected occurrences outlined in the Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report produced for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Additionally, in the April 30, 2012 publication of the Jamaica Observer, “a leading expert at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) urged Caribbean people to be prepared for a tsunami,” two years ahead of the planned early warning system for the region slated for completion in 2014.
Alternative energy sources and a move towards greening one’s economy may be viewed as a means of mitigating the negative impact of climate change.
In 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) produced a document entitled, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. What is a green economy? The UNEP defines a green economy “as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” The UNEP document posits that greening an economy can become a new engine of growth, a net generator of decent jobs and also a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty.
A key feature of a green economy is that it seeks to provide diverse opportunities for economic development without liquidating or eroding a country’s natural assets. This is particularly necessary in low-income countries, where ecosystem goods and services are a large component of the livelihoods of poor rural communities and ecosystems.
While the scale of financing required for a green economy transition is substantial, it can be mobilised by smart public policy and innovative financing mechanisms. The rapid growth of capital markets, ie markets in which individuals and institutions trade financial securities, the growing green orientation of these markets, the evolution of emerging market instruments, such as carbon finance and microfinance, and the green stimulus funds established in response to the economic slowdown of recent years, are opening up the space for large-scale financing for a global green economic transformation.
Moving towards a green economy has the potential to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication on a scale and at a speed not seen before. This potential derives, essentially, from a changed playing field: our world, and the risks we face, have materially changed, and require a fundamental rethinking of the approach to one’s economy.
For further questions or if there is a particular aspect of Social Security that you would like discussed be it from a local, regional or international perspective, please contact the Social Security office at: Know Your Social Security, The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board, PO Box 1125, St John’s, Antigua, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.