Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wastewater policy and challenges to be addressed

IN JUST over a week, regional Ministers of Government representing Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste will be in Barbados, to participate in High Level Ministerial talks.

The officials will be attending a two-day session which takes place within the 22nd Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association to be held at the Hilton Barbados October 6-11.

Chairman of the High Level Sessions, Stephen Lindo, explained that the 9th high level ministerial forum in Barbados comes on the heels of the previous meeting held in the Bahamas last year. The theme is “Water and Sanitation in the post- 2015 Development Agenda: Addressing Wastewater Policy and Financial Challenges in the Caribbean.”

It was explained that 85 per cent of wastewater entering the Caribbean Sea remains untreated, which negatively impacts human health, tourism and livelihoods. The conference is intended to draw greater attention to the social, environmental and economic costs, recognising that wastewater management receives little attention and continues to be neglected.

According to Lindo, “The main purpose will be to achieve greater harmonisation of water governance within the region, thereby leading to the development and implementation of regional approaches and policies for the wastewater sector management in the Caribbean.”

He said that the sessions will be hosted by Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Water Resource Management Dr. David Estwick, and Water Ministers from 13 Caribbean countries including Haiti and the Minister of Water from Suriname as expected to attend.

“We will be looking at varying issues such as methods of financing wastewater development and wastewater infrastructure within the Caribbean region and we are also looking to see whether we can use the human resources within the Caribbean rather than having one country with an abundance of resources and not sharing those intellectual resources with other countries.”

Also on the agenda, will be disaster management, waste water development whereby the Caribbean region can benefit from shared knowledge.

“We are expecting that this session will be fruitful and we will be able to take some of our issues within the region to the Council for Trade and Economic Development within the Caribbean and we have got to be able to find ways of funding development projects in water and wastewater throughout the Caribbean.”

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