Multi-stakeholder regional dialogue
For civil society organisations in the Caribbean, the move to a green economy is not a theoretical exercise. It is about collective learning, real situations and people, and above all – action.
On the back of a regional dialogue process launched in 2010, a group of development professionals and academics from across the islands of the Caribbean formed a Green Economy Action Learning Group (GE ALG). The group, whose members have expertise in macroeconomics, planning, tourism, agriculture, rural development, gender and climate change, is tackling the practical dimensions of the transition to a different economic model.
In July the GE ALG took their inquiry a step further by launching a series new discussion papers. What opportunities does a green economy offer for local lives and livelihoods? What evidence is there that the transition is underway? What are the levers of change?
The discussion papers present a fascinating glimpse of what is happening in the Caribbean already. In Cuba, Yociel Marrero Baez, describes opportunities to integrate ‘green economy’ policies as the country undergoes a transformation away from a centralised economy. Dr Winston Moore details the experience of Barbados in trying to become ‘the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean’. Augustine Dominque and Yves Renard report on locally driven development through arts and culture in the coastal community of Saint Lucia.
The papers outline the key economic structural changes required to accelerate a transition including the diversification of the tourism sector, new debt management practices, incentives for green technology and support of cultural services. Small businesses, the back-bone of Caribbean economies, need to be recognised and supported as the engine for a green economy transition.
The Caribbean Natural Resource Institute (CANARI), working in partnership with IIED, has been coordinating a regional dialogue process in the Caribbean to explore the dimensions and the implications of a green economy.
The process started with an intensive two-day workshop that brought together leaders from civil society, government and business.
The Caribbean is a unique region - one that is highly vulnerable to disasters, where poverty and inequality levels have escalated, levels of public debt have skyrocketed and returns from key economic sectors have been diminishing. As such, participants stressed that a green economy needs to move beyond energy sector reform and to address unemployment and persistent poverty, ensure food security and reform the current education system. The dialogue singled out a range of ways of accelerating the transformation (see short paper).