Colombia Gets Help from Barbados on Coastal Zone Management

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 19, 2012

Above: Johnny Cay in Colombia’s San Andres (Photo: Colombia Tourism)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Barbados’ coastal and environmental experts held discussions Thursday with a visiting delegation from Colombia to examine potential areas of collaboration in dealing with issues of coastal erosion.

Barbados and Colombia already have a technical cooperation agreement in place that will lay the framework for rendering technical assistance, according to Lorna Inniss, deputy director of Barbados’ Coastal Zone Management Unit.

The Colombian officials toured a group of coastal project sites in Barbados yesterday, including Enterprise Beach, Welches Beach, the Rockley Breakwater, Cove Bay and Pebbles Beach in St Michael, among others.

“There are different ways of shoreline stabilization that have been tested across the world,” Inniss said. “Some islands try to use only vegetation, but at the level climate change adaptation is going right now, and sea level rise is occurring, vegetation alone will no longer do it. Once you recognize that, then you realize that it is not a solution that will work for us in the islands any more.”

Last year, the government of Colombia approached Barbados’ CZMU for technical assistance, and has since received technical training from Dr Inniss and Antonio Rowe, the project manager of the Coastal Infrastructure Programme.

The Colombian visit, which concluded Thursday afternoon, was a follow up to the training to allow those involved in the process to have a first-hand look at the progress Barbados has made in mitigating its own coastal erosion issues.

While Colombia has a good handle on understanding the science of coastal zones, Inniss said, the country now needs to examine its systems and see what changes need to be made to protect the country’s coastal zone.

Colombia is not alone in seeking help from Barbados; next month, Inniss will travel to the islands of Kiribati and Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean to see what assistance may be given to aid those nations.

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