The New Today

Commentary

“Blah blah blah”

In 1994, the first Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was held in Barbados, and the commitment to sustainable development was translated into a policy document which became known as the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (BPOA) ‐ a 14‐point programme of action that identified priority areas and specific actions and measures to be taken at the national, regional and international levels for addressing the special challenges faced by SIDS.

At Rio+20, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, member states renewed their political commitment after a great deal of lobbying from SIDS calling for United Nations support towards their countries. On that occasion they also agreed to hold a Third International Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS, which was held in Apia, Samoa in September 2014.

Preparations for this Conference included national stakeholder consultations, which fed into the regional meeting held in Jamaica, July 2‐3, 2013 and in preparation for this meeting, the government of Grenada in collaboration with the United Nations System hosted a national consultation on June 21 2013.

The consultation, suitably themed “The Future We Want”, attracted representation from government, private sector and civil society, and encouraged discussions aligned with the principles of sustainable development.

On June 26th of the same year, Cabinet authorised sand mining on specific beaches (NOW Grenada), for removal by two recognised entities, Gravel and Concrete and Emulsion Distribution Corporation, Minister Nickolas Steele, the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time stated, “a fixed amount has been authorised in specific areas for sand mining. This is as a stop-gap between now and when Gravel and Concrete, with the assistance of the stone crusher, is in a position to produce sand or aggregate of the quality that can be used for construction that is not taken from our beaches.”

He made it clear it was not a free for all, and “that it is purely as a short-term stop gap, until we are up and running to facilitate environmentally friendly aggregate production”. Has this decision ever been rescinded? It does not seem so when we witness how much sand is allowed to be removed by all and sundry in St Patrick.

In the same vein, the Grenada Blue Growth Development Plan was produced, showing grandiose developments, Levera and Mt Hartman resorts, the Carenage, all glass, steel and concrete edifices, hardly in line with protection of our coastal areas which begs the question – was Grenada’s administration ever serious about Sustainable Development or did they not understand what it meant?

Some of the findings of the Grenada national consultation were:

Better articulation on issues at international forums in order to secure greater assistance to address issues

Review of national environmental policy and legislation

Greening critical sectors such as tourism

Develop a Green jobs strategy

Prioritisation of climate resilience

Friends of the Earth Grenada want to focus particularly on this last one. Climate resilience has been a major talking point in the past few weeks, the COP 26 in Glasgow, and Senator Simon Stiell on various TV stations and FB enlightening the Nation on the outcomes of the conference.

As we have done in the past, we continue to ask – what are WE the People doing that may hinder our own resilience? How can OUR behaviour change so we empower ourselves to protect our tri-island state and contribute to sustainable development?

The photographs featured here were taken in the last two weeks. One is the removal of sand from Mt Rodney beach, St Patrick by a group of people known as Environmental Wardens, the other is the clearing of part of the WATERSHED in Beausejour, St George.

The police were informed about the sand mining in St Patrick and arrived promptly but the group had permission to remove the sand, it is not clear from whom, and this is from a beach which is severely challenged by erosion. The sea is now in the road most nights threatening the survival of the road in Mt Rodney.

The second photo is of the clearing of forest in what is the Annandale watershed which finishes in Beausejour, it is understood that a Supermarket and a gas station will be built there.

Sen. Stiell was heard broadcasting the fact that Grenada has acquired US $6million from the Green Climate Fund for the Grenada Climate Resilient Water Sector (G-CREWS) project, designed to increase climate change resilience in Grenada’s water sector.

We seem to forget that without trees, there is no rain, without rain, there is no water, so how can we in all conscience accept multi-million dollar loans and grants and say we are adopting a policy of sustainable development, when we continue to allow these activities to take place?

We are quick to go and beg for more and more money for adaptation and mitigation, usually loans which become debts for our children and they will be saddled with, but take no responsibility for our actions.

We need coherence as to what Sustainable Development means to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, not more ‘blah blah blah’ and business as usual culminating in more environmental destruction and increasing our vulnerability.

The above reflects the views of Friends of the Earth-Grenada