Saint Lucia: Inspiring Green Economy Transitions among SIDS and in the Caribbean Region

The Government of Saint Lucia has taken significant steps to ensure that the transition towards a green economy, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is a major focus of its national development strategy. Saint Lucia is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) with limited human, natural, and institutional resource bases, however the country is overcoming these challenges with a concerted effort to green its tourism industry, diversify agriculture for food security, and transform its energy sector. By embracing an economic model that is more sustainable, green, and socially inclusive, Saint Lucia is serving as a model for other SIDS pursuing the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through the European Union funded project, “Advancing Caribbean States’ Sustainable Development through Green Economy (ACSSD-GE)”, and with the support of UNEP, Saint Lucia has identified sectors that present key greening opportunities: energy, water, waste management, agriculture, tourism, construction, and manufacturing. A thorough review of the greening potential in Saint Lucia can be found in the Green Economy Scoping Study for Saint Lucia, which was launched in June 2016.

The country’s green economy transition is already underway and is being driven by both private and public sectors alike. At the end of June, the Caribbean Electricity Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC) launched the CARILEC Renewable Energy Community (CAREC), a renewable energy virtual platform and community for utility engineers and energy practitioners, which enables the sharing of informative documents and training materials, monthly webinars, and a real-time discussion board. Most importantly, the community connects peers to learn from each other and resolve renewable energy challenges collaboratively.

The University of the West Indies, which has a campus on Saint Lucia, is building the knowledge and skill base for the country’s green transition through the development of a green economy course targeted at graduate students and policymakers, which will build their capacity regarding sustainable growth models for the future. An overview of the course can be found here.

These green economy advances come well-timed with the recent High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York. On July 14th, a panel discussion on “Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for SIDS, building on the SAMOA Pathway” highlighted the importance of the SIDS, such as Saint Lucia, for achieving the global agenda. Panelist David Smith of the University Consortium of Small Island States proposed the green economy approach as one of the pathways to overcome the sustainable development challenges facing SIDS.

Given the private and public sectors’ green-focused contributions and Saint Lucia’s continued involvement in regional and global efforts towards sustainable development, the country has laid down the necessary foundations for their transition to a green economy. These steps have established Saint Lucia as a leader in the Caribbean region, and through pursuing the recommendations in the Green Economy Scoping Study, Saint Lucia will continue to serve as an inspiration to other SIDS.