National Sustainable Development Policy
The overarching goal of the Policy is “to ensure the optimization of the quality of life for every person by ensuring that economic growth and development does not occur to the detriment of our ecological capital.” The major objectives of the Policy are:
1. to formulate a national definition of sustainable development;
2. to provide a national framework for decision-making based on our principles of sustainable development;
3. to promote principles of sustainable development and encourage all persons to adopt and apply these principles in every aspect of decision-making; and
4. to sensitize and educate all persons in Barbados about key issues and conflicts between development and environment and the need to make wise consumption and production choices.
Sustainable Development is a broad-based concept that impinges on all sectors and activities of national development and so it is difficult to attempt to prescribe detailed actions for each actor, stakeholder and decision-maker. The Barbados National Sustainable Development Policy therefore is not intended to be a blueprint for sustainability. Rather this policy is intended to provide guidelines and a pragmatic framework that facilitates decision-making at the level where costs and benefits accrue whether it is at the national, corporate or individual level. It is envisaged that this policy will be translated into concrete action plans by informing all programmes and projects prepared by the various sectors, businesses, communities and individuals.
In 1994 the Government of Barbados hosted the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, which gave birth to the Barbados Programme of Action-the internationally recognized blueprint for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States. Islands and their coastal areas are also the critical source of food, jobs and income for more than 500 million people who live on more than 100,000 islands around the globe. Many traditional and unique island cultures have flourished in much the same way as the endemic species. Protecting an island's natural resources and culture is therefore as vital as is finding economic stability. For an island, conservation goes hand-in hand with sustainable economic development, a delicate balance where both humans and habitats can prosper.
The task of spearheading progress towards sustainable development in the period immediately following the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was entrusted to a Cabinet appointed National Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD). The major task of the NCSD was the production of the Barbados Sustainable Development Policy.
The National Sustainable Development Policy seeks to ensure that development is undertaken not only in the right way but more importantly to ensure that the right things are done. It therefore requires that there are no inherent conflicts between substance and process. Doing things the right way will require an appropriate mechanism that verifies the process; whereas appropriate standards will validate the substantive things that are done.
Through the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Policy the following results are anticipated:
1 "Quality of life" is endorsed as the overarching goal and that this is composed of a variety of economic, social, cultural and personal factors and is not based on income earnings or accumulated wealth alone.
2. Bio-physical "limits to growth" are taken into consideration when decisions are made with regards to resource use. These limits include: the finite supply of some resources, the natural carrying capacity of ecosystems fragility and the vulnerability of some ecosystems, the finite resilience of ecosystems to resist and recover from man's impacts limited waste assimilation capacity of the natural environment.
3. The development of economic tools and methodologies, such as the monetary valuation of natural and environmental resources, cost benefit analysis and the internalisation of external environmental costs. These play an increasingly important role in the decision making process with regards to natural and environmental resource use, notwithstanding considerations of physical sustainability constraints.
4. All sectors of society as well as future generations are provided with an equitable opportunity to ensure that their quality of life is maintained at a level not lower than that of current generations. This is to be achieved in part by ensuring that the core concepts of sustainable development are upheld with regards to natural and environmental resource use and social development plans.
5. That all major stakeholders in civil society are involved in the decision making process at every level from project development and implementation to national and international policy development for every sector and/or issue.