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World Bank, UWI discuss blue economy today

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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The World Bank and The University of the West Indies (UWI) are today hosting a public lecture on how to balance ocean wealth with ocean health and how Caribbean economies, such as Jamaica, can make the transition to a blue economy.

Scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm at The UWI Regional Headquarters, Mona, the lecture will include a presentation of the World Bank report 'Toward a Blue Economy: A Promise for Sustainable Growth in the Caribbean' by the bank's Practice Manager for Environment & Natural Resource in Latin America & the Caribbean Region, Valerie Hickey.

“This is an opportunity to identify priority areas for action to sustainably manage Jamaica's blue assets — its ocean and coastal resources — in the service of generating jobs and GDP. These actions will allow Jamaica to make its ocean resource a long-term investable asset class for inclusive growth now and into the future,” a World Bank Group news release quotes Hickey, who will also present the bank's recent analysis on the blue economy.

According to the World Bank, some people regard the blue economy as the use of the sea and its resources for sustainable economic development. “For others, it simply refers to any economic activity in the maritime sector, whether sustainable or not,” the bank said.

“Authors of the report highlight that the promise of growth is accompanied by increasing threats to the ocean environment. Tourists come to the region largely for its beautiful beaches and sea attractions, which puts tremendous pressure on the very coastal ecosystems that drive economies. About 75 per cent of the region's coral reef is considered to be at risk from human activity and 85 per cent of wastewater enters the Caribbean Sea untreated,” the news release states.

Dr Richard Bernal, UWI pro-vice chancellor global affairs, who will chair the discussion, said that The UWI welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the World Bank in an area that affects every island in the Caribbean.

“As a regional university, we are committed to doing our part in securing and maximising the resources of the region for sustainable growth and development,” Bernal is quoted as saying.

“The discussion on the blue economy is both important and timely, at a time when Caribbean economies are endeavouring to achieve higher rates of sustainable growth. The Caribbean Sea is an enormous valuable resource which is underutilised and more attention needs to be given to the protection of this valuable resource,” he said.

According to Galina Sotirova, World Bank country manager for Jamaica, “The recent devastating impacts of hurricanes in the Caribbean makes it even more urgent that we focus on the blue economy agenda. Thinking blue is truly a promise for sustainable growth for Jamaica and countries across the Caribbean.”

The event will also include a panel discussion featuring Elizabeth Emanuel, programme director, Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat; Dr David Smith, coordinator, Institute for Sustainable Development, UWI, Mona; Ambassador Aubyn Hill, CEO, Economic Growth Council; Dr Henry Mooney, lead economist, Inter-American Development Bank; and Dr Justin Ram, chief economist, Caribbean Development Bank.

It will be moderated by Dr Damien King, senior lecturer, Department of Economics, UWI, Mona.

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