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Rambarran: Region can grow with green economy


The Caribbean has earned an unenviable reputation as one of the most natural disaster-prone and high debt regions in the world, Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran said when he addressed the International Conference for Science and Technology for Economic Diversification at the Hilton Hotel.


“The brutal reality is that the Caribbean must find new sources of growth in a very uncertain external environment,” Rambarran said as he highlighted three potential areas where the region could improve its growth and economic diversification with the support of science and technology.


He said the first potential area is the Caribbean Sea where science and technology can help capture economic opportunities likely to arise for a healthier marine environment through promotion of responsible fisheries and aquaculture, adoption of green technologies and reduction of fossil fuel use.


Rambarran said harnessing the potential of marine-based renewable energy—wind, wave and tidal—and improving the understanding of deep-sea minerals ecosystems are possible new revenue streams.


He said another area for potential growth is using the green economy to reduce the region’s vulnerability to climate change. Rambarran said the region is expected to be among the earliest and most severely hit by climate change. “A 2008 study by the Stockholm Environment Institute and Tufts University found that for just three categories—increased hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue, and infrastructure damage—the Caribbean’s annual cost of inaction is projected to total US$22 billion by 2050 and US$46 billion by 2100. These costs represented ten per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, of the 2008 GDP of the Caribbean economy,” he said.


According to the Central Bank Governor, there is a unique opportunity for scientists and economic policymakers to take advantage of growth opportunities from reducing the future burden of non-communicable diseases, promoting healthy ageing, and increasing potential benefits from the demographic transition in the Caribbean. He urged scientists and policymakers to use these opportunities while ensuring that out of pocket health expenses do not inflict severe financial hardship on families, while narrowing the gap in access to health services and public health protection.


Source: Trinidad Guardian

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