The University of Portsmouth is collaborating with the Caribbean Islands of Antigua & Barbuda and Trinidad & Tobago as they transition into a more sustainable future.
To present the Rapid Readiness Assessment for a Sustainable Blue Economy, exclusive workshops with government administrators are being conducted this week in Antigua and Trinidad, backed by scientists from the University.
In the next few months, a trial known as Rapid Readiness Assessment (RRA) will be happening, and the findings will inform the Islands of the steps that need to be made to help the transition to a more sustainable “blue” economy. This implies that the Islands can successfully tap into ocean resources and support economic growth in the long run while also safeguarding coastal and marine ecologies.
The RRA will verify how prepared the Islands’ national systems, stakeholders, and structures are to move into a sustainable blue economy. It will also allow stakeholders and governments to truly understand their present situation and identify both gaps and opportunities, building on some of the progress that has already been made in each country.
This is a critical time to bring together all of the valuable, existing work in each country and identify how to harmonize approaches and avoid duplication of efforts. A sustainable blue economy presents the opportunity for Antigua & Barbuda and Trinidad & Tobago to truly tap into the wealth of resources the ocean offers, provide equitable sharing of the benefits and reduce their economies’ over reliance on tourism and oil respectively, for a more balanced and equal operating system.
Antaya March, Study Lead Author, University of Portsmouth
March is heading the study that is being carried out in Antigua and Barbuda.
The examinations are being organized under the Commonwealth Blue Charter program with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Howell Marine Consulting, and the University of Portsmouth.
Aspects like laws and policies, leadership, stakeholder engagement, institutional infrastructure, and sustainable financing, among others, will be considered by the team. Government officials will work with experts to review the results and outline the next steps to help toward the transition to a more sustainable future.
“Commonwealth ocean states are acutely aware of the vast ocean resources that exist within their waters, as well as the need to protect the marine environment. We are pleased to be able to support Trinidad & Tobago, together with Antigua & Barbuda in developing sustainable blue economies, and thank them for their willingness to pilot this new methodology.”
Both face similar challenges as small island developing states, but they also have key economic differences. The rapid readiness assessments should pinpoint gaps and opportunities for each.
Dr. Jeff Ardron, Project lead, Commonwealth Secretariat
Ole Vestergaard, UNEP Spokesperson, stated, “During the first online discussion to familiarise stakeholders with the project, representatives from the partner governments thanked the Commonwealth, UNEP, and other partners and welcomed the rapid readiness assessment process.”
The sustainable blue economy promotes economic growth and improved livelihoods across a wide range of sectors, while ensuring the sustainable and responsible use of marine resources. Through a combination of workshops, information-gathering, and analysis, this process will help us to identify and understand what is required to improve Antigua and Barbuda’s sustainable blue economy.
Ann-Louise Hill, Acting Director, Department of the Blue Economy, Antigua and Barbuda