Executive Coordinator of Rio+20 Liz Thompson talks about a role for the CaribbeanListen /
United Nations Assistant-Secretary-General Elizabeth Thompson is the Executive Coordinator of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. The former Environment Minister of Barbados has been involved in the negotiations for the past two years.
She was asked what Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean can offer to the negotiations.
Elizabeth Thompson: I think that we can offer a tremendous amount, not only to the negotiations but beyond. Let me start with Barbados since that is the country I know best and I was the Minister f Environment in Barbados for 12 years before becoming an ASG with the UN and Executive Coordinator of the Conference.
As far back as 2007 when I was leading the Ministry, Barbados developed a National Green Economy Policy. The rest of the globe is now trying to catch up with that. And therefore, I think that there is a certain amount of leadership having done it and having developed in Barbados, a multi-stakeholder process – how we need to implement a green economy – I think there's a lot that we can offer there. Barbados has had solar water heating industry since the 1970's. That is now an extremely long time – using indigenous technology that is certified as meeting the international standards of the Florida Solar Water heating Institute. Now, clearly, the world is now talking about these technologies, about how you implement them, about how you get stakeholder buy in, and these are things that we have already achieved. Barbados has been able to move from developing to developed country status and therefore, I think we are well-positioned to advise and guide other developing countries of the things that we did right along the way and some of the things that we did wrong. Because learning from the mistakes is also really critical. The Caribbean, as a whole, I think, has similar examples of success stories which we can share. Aruba is moving from a fossil fuel energy-based to a 100% renewable energy platform. These are leadership lessons for the world and in the negotiating process, I think, both in relation to climate change in this process, the small island developing states really have shown that they understand what the issues are. They have defined this, not I the context of language, and full-stops and commas and brackets, but in the context of the strategic development imperatives and demands. And that is really what we need to do and these are the examples I think the Caribbean can share.
NAR: Executive Coordinator of Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable development Assistant Secretary-General Elizabeth Thompson.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.