What Color is Your Lab?

Photo by: Michael Atwood/UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Barbados is only the third country in the world to establish a Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy. The Ministry, created in 2018, is dedicating personnel and government resources to guide the strategic development of the blue economy for the island. As the first nation in the region to make this monumental move in actually devising policies to protect the environment -it’s clear that Barbados is serious about being BLUE! Additionally, citizens are increasingly taking action in the sector and working to ensure that their role maintains at the centre of all development. For example, repurposing and finding alternative uses for the recent influx of sargassum seaweed. The sargassum has been linked to the rise in sea-surface temperatures and greatly impacted the Caribbean coastlines and marine spaces. Local enterprises have used the sargassum to their advantage. Oasis Laboratory is creating jewelry, beauty products and soaps out of sargassum and Red Diamond Compost is making a bio stimulant fertilizer.
  • Grenada established the Blue Growth Coastal Master Plan in 2016, the region’s first of its kind planning strategy; paving the way for dialogue and replication across the OECS countries.
  • Dominica became the first state in the region to complete a Scoping Study on the Blue Economy. Such studies are key to examining the opportunities and challenges of the blue economy, effectively mapping and informing future research and policies.
  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the IDB Blue Tech Challenge in 2018, designed to provide support to pilot and scale commercial models that reinforce the ocean’s economy. This includes providing assistance for cutting-edge technologies that contribute to the sustainable management of oceans and coastal resources (or marine ecosystems) for basic livelihoods, food security and economic development of the Caribbean.
  • The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship has as part of its mission to promote dynamic Caribbean economies and support the blue economy. The center has created an incubator program and investment boot-camp for entrepreneurs focussing on Belize, Jamaica and Barbados.
  • The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Programme created the first successful investment project addressing the blue economy in the region in 2017. The programme provides aid for developing coastal and marine spatial plans across the OECS countries and works to implement policies to stimulate ‘blue growth’, build capacity, and raise awareness on issues.
  • The University of the West Indies, a leading research institute, through its Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) created the Sargassum Symposium in 2015 and 2018 to examine the biodiversity issues on trade and tourism and explore potential opportunities and community solutions created from the influx of sargassum.



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UNDP Accelerator Labs

UNDP Accelerator Labs

Building the world’s largest learning network around development challenges. 91 Labs in 115 countries. http://acceleratorlabs.undp.org/