Stakeholders in St. James Contribute to Environmental Consultations

Representatives of various organizations and community groups in St. James on Tuesday (Feb. 27) got the chance to add their voices to discussions on how to create a balance between economic development and the preservation of the environment, at a community forum organized by JAMPRO.
The forum, held at the Wexford Court Hotel under the theme: ‘Development and the environment . maintaining the balance’ is part of a series of islandwide discussion sessions aimed at engaging the public in debate and dialogue about sustainable development.
Executive Director of Services at JAMPRO, Lisa Bell, said that there have been a lot of discussion in the media about development and the impact on the environment and there was need for a common position on the issue.
“The seminar has the added advantage of heightening awareness and clarifying the conceptions of the public about environmental issues and the role of economic development. It is hoped that this seminar and resulting discussions will help to bridge the divide and create a platform for consensus, which will enable us to work together for the benefit of our country,” she noted.
She said that following the discussions, an action plan would be drafted, reflecting the perspectives of the participants, which would inform future plans, objectives and targets in relation to Jamaica’s economic development and the preservation of the environment.
Managing Director and Consulting Principal of Environmental Solutions Limited, Eleanor Jones, who was the main presenter, noted that it was “critically important for us all to ensure the protection of the natural environment as this constitutes our life support system”.
“I believe that it is the natural environment, which gives us the natural resources, the economic assets to which we often refer, hence we must carry out our responsibilities to guard and protect the environment while seeking to create a balance between this and development,” she stated.
According to Dr. Jones, “we need to engage businesses in environmental best practices in using resources wisely and efficiently in preventing pollution, looking at occupational health and safety, disaster risk management and using sustainable development principles to guide our thinking”.
“Sustainable development is a dynamic process, it’s not a fixed thing . but an interaction between people and the globe in which they exist,” she pointed out, noting that “many of the disasters that we suffer are really disasters of our own making”.
The discussion sessions are being carried out in collaboration with Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

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