June 12, 2023 — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has identified two Member States – Dominica and Grenada – to stage Recycle OECS model demonstration projects. The two countries met the eligibility criteria and were deemed most ready and viable for that purpose. The disclosure was made by Mr. Chamberlain Emmanuel, Head of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Division, during the unveiling of the Recycle OECS Project on June 7, the eve of World Ocean’s Day.
The project is aimed at reducing plastic pollution in the OECS. The key outputs are the design and implementation of a model for sustainable waste separation, collection, and recycling of plastic waste for the OECS. An important aspect of the model is that it will consider a regional approach, self-financing, sustainability, and business viability.
Mr. Emmanuel said that the theme for World Ocean Day -"Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing," resonates with the circumstances and vision of the OECS, which contains an ocean space that is 85 times larger than its land space. For the region’s natural resource-dependent economies, these circumstances call for sustainable approaches that are blue, green, and circular to address the threat of pollution. “In so doing, the Recycle OECS Project is advancing the strides of the region to position our perspectives and prospects toward the vision of A Model Blue Economy Region.” He observed that the region is “littered with plans - vision plans, strategic plans, and action plans, but there is a wide lag in implementation,” and challenged Member States to "change the tides and get it done”.
Country representatives from Dominica and Grenada indicated that they are keen to accept the offer to stage demonstration projects. Speaking on behalf of the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, Senior Public Relations Officer Myrna Julien said, the opportunity is timely for Grenada.
“We are at the crossroads of changing the way we manage waste, with plans to focus greater attention on waste diversion, both as a means of encouraging businesses to be born out of waste, while cutting back on waste going to the landfills, and for addressing the countless environmental and public health challenges that have emerged from improper disposal of waste, ” She added that Grenada’s selection “will be good news for all our stakeholders in the fight against marine pollution, including Government Ministries, NGOs and interests in the private sector.”
Board member of the Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation (DSWMC), Ms. Kimisha Thomas, conveyed gratitude on behalf of the Board of Directors, and the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment and Constituency Empowerment. She noted that the Project will help OECS member states “to align themselves to the United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 5/14, which seeks to End Plastic Pollution.”
Recycle OECS is funded by the European Union and implemented by the OECS Commission in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The two-year Project supports the broader European Union (EU) Zero Waste initiative in the Caribbean Programme, which aims to strengthen the EU-Caribbean partnership for cooperation in the field of circular economy and solid waste management. AFD’s Director, Mr. Marc Dubernet, highlighted public policy dialogue and public awareness as project outputs that are essential for sustainability. “AFD would like to thank the European Union for its renewed trust towards our institution, as well as the OECS for our fruitful collaboration and the start of what will be, I believe, a high-impact project for the Caribbean region.”
Representing the EU at the ceremony was Ms. Susana Fuertes, Programme Officer and Climate Change Focal Point for Green Deal Partnership for the Caribbean. She indicated that the Project “will support the improvement in investment in the waste sector as well, which presents many opportunities for explorations and synergies under the Global Gateway Investment Agenda, which will be presented at the next summit in July.”
Following the official sign-off by the selected Member States, their waste management authorities will work with the technical consultants to commence stakeholder engagement activities to present the model and adapt it. Once finalized, the model will be made available to other OECS Member States and Small Island Developing States in the Region for adoption or adaption.