IDB launches ‘blue economy’ competition for Tobagonians

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Climate change specialist Gerald Alleyne, right, at the Inter American Development Bank blue economy idea challenge launch at Buccoo’s Boardwalk, Buccoo Village, Tobago, Sunday. Photo by David Reid

Have you ever thought about devising a plan to develop Tobago’s blue economy?

Well, this is the objective of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB’s) Tobago blue economy innovation ideas competition, which was launched on the Buccoo Boardwalk on Sunday. The winner receives a prize of US$10,000.

The IDB’s competition culminated four days of activities in Tobago aimed at providing strategies to assist stakeholders in tourism and other sectors to rebuild their respective businesses and the island’s economy, by extension, post covid19.

Gerard Alleng, IDB climate change senior specialist, urged Tobagonians to enter the competition.

Noting the importance of the blue economy to the island, he said, “It will require creative thought, a different way of how we do things. It will require a different way of how we utilise sustainably the resources from the ocean.”

Alleng said strategies could very well involve improvements to activities currently being pursued.

“It is not just simply to win the money but to provide concept ideas of what you think could be done to improve an area of fishing, tourism, marine energy in terms of renewable energy, waste management, even in terms of biodiversity, of being able to use nature-based solutions based on your marine resources.”

Dunieski Lora, a Cuban craftsman residing in Tobago, uses driftwood and plastic waste to create art at the Inter American Development Bank blue economy idea challenge launch at Buccoo’s Boardwalk, Buccoo Village, Tobago, Sunday. Photo by David Reid

THA Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development administrator Wendell Bernard read remarks on behalf of line secretary Nathisha Charles-Pantin, who is out of the country.

He said Tobago’s blue economy could generate hundreds of jobs.

“As we seek to fully develop this sector in a sustainable way, this can become, potentially, the source of hundreds of jobs in fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, energy production and other sectors for Tobagonians,” Bernard said.“Therefore, the only way in which we can tap this large reservoir of resources is to be engaged in strategic capacity-building and sustainable economic development at all levels of our society – from the artisan, fisherfolk to the downstream agro-processors and entrepreneurs.”

He said the blue economy has the potential to be an engine of growth for the population.

IDB country representative Carina Cockburn, in brief remarks, said the blue economy is about making money from the sea or being inspired by the sea to do things that make money.

She said the IDB wanted to give Tobagonians the opportunity to develop their own strategy for developing the blue economy.

“So, instead of us thinking about what a blue economy strategy for Tobago should look like, we want to hear from you, the citizens of Tobago, what you think it should look like.”

For more information about the competition, peoplecan visit the IDB’s website