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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE BAHAMAS


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) is responsible for coordinating activities for sustainable development. It is chaired by the Ambassador for the Environment and includes as members the Directors of Agriculture, Fisheries, Environmental Health Services, and Physical Planning; the Director-General of Tourism; the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance; the President, The College of the Bahamas; the Senior Hydrologist, Water and Sewerage Corporation; and the Executive Director, Bahamas National Trust.

BEST has constituted a number of Standing Committees, including the following: National Conservation Strategy; National Land Use; Biodiversity Implementation; Biodiversity Data Management; Climate Change; Environmental Safety; Science and Technology; and International Obligations.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation is to be drafted to ensure that regulations are in force to support the provisions of the conventions concerning sustainable development.

A major step in the process of integrating environment and development in decision-making has been the introduction of the mandatory requirement for Environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out with respect to all development projects. This has been done to ensure that all future work will be designed to ensure sustainable development.

National legislation relevant to sustainable development includes, in particular, the following:
Archipelagic Waters and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 1993
Agriculture and Fisheries Act (Ch. 223), 1963
Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation Act, (Ch. 328), 1981
Bahamas Maritime Authority Act, 1995
Bahamas National Trust Act (Ch. 335)
Coast Protection Act (Ch. 190)
Continental Shelf Act (Ch. 5)
Environmental Health Services Act (Ch. 217)
Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Ch. 225)
Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act Amendment No.2, 1993
Local Government Act 1996, Port Authorities Act
Private Roads and Sub-Divisions Act (Ch. 237)
Reclamation and Drainage Act
Seal Fisheries Act
Town Planning Act
Plants Protection Act, 1916
Water and Sewerage Corporation Act (Ch. 184)
Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act
Wild Bird Protection Act (Ch. 230)
Wild Animals Protection Act (Ch. 229)

In addition, a number of new pieces of legislation have recently been introduced relevant to biodiversity conservation. These include:
Agriculture and Fisheries (Protected Areas) Rules, 1996
Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Act
Continuity of the Water and Sewerage Corporation
Forestry Act
Marine Mammal (Dolphin) Legislation
Act to Regulate the Removal of Hills and Trees
Tourism Incentives Act (Marinas, Environmental and Theme Park)

Please refer also to the table below.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Conservation Strategy Task Force in the BEST Commission is developing a National Strategy and Action Plan which will be incorporated into the nation's legal framework.

Please refer also to the table below.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The BEST Commission is making all efforts to involve non-governmental organizations in the decision-making process. These include, primarily, Research Institutions and individual scientists and researchers.

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: YES
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD: NO
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: NO
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: IN PROCESS
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: YES

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: NO
3. Ecolabel Regulations: NO
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: NO
5. Green Accounting Program: NO
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: NO

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

Does your country have either a policy, programme, and/or legislation consistent with Agenda 21 in:  
1. Combatting poverty: NO
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: NO
3. Atmosphere: NO
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: NO
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: N.A.
8. Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9. Biological Diversity: YES
10. Biotechnology: NO
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: YES
13. Toxic Chemicals: YES
14. Hazardous Wastes: YES
15. Solid Wastes: YES
16. Radioactive Wastes: NO
17. Energy: NO
18. Transport: NO
19. Sustainable Tourism: NO

Programmes and Projects   

Please refer to the table above.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

The main constraints to the implementation of international legal instruments related to sustainable development have been the lack of resources, technical expertise and funding.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

With regard to capacity-building, there is the need for additional upgrading and training of staff in relevant areas of research capabilities and in developing integrated and holistic development. A National Strategy and Development Plan for capacity-building as related to Sustainable Development is presently in the final stages of preparation. It would need to focus on training and educational programmes/activities, focusing on sustainable development. Additional staff and equipment is also required..

The following organizations contribute to capacity-building in the Bahamas: Government: Departments of Agriculture; of Fisheries; of Education; of Environmental Health Services; Department of Lands and Surveys; Department of Legal Affairs; Department of Meteorology; Department of Physical Planning; Port Department Department of Public Works; Ministry of Education; of Finance; of Foreign Affairs; of Tourism and of Transport. Private Sector/NGOs: The Bahamas National Trust; Quasi-Government Agencies: College of the Bahamas; Water and Sewerage Corporation; Research Institutions/Academia: College of The Bahamas. The Bahamas takes advantage of every opportunity to interact with countries in the region in environmental issues largely through assistance provided by regional entities such as the UNEP Regional Office, the Organisation of American States, and the University of the West Indies Centre for Environment and Development (UWICED), among others.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

The BEST Commission's Committee on International Obligations is mid-way through an in-depth study of all the obligations under each Convention ratified by The Bahamas with a view to coordinating all sustainable development issues.

The BEST Commission is establishing an administrative and legal process to identify the relationships and overlaps between agreements concerning sustainable development.\

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 4 June 1998.

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making:  Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Bahamas ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women on 6 October 1993.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

Policies and strategies for achieving equality in all aspects of society and to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development will be in place by 2000.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available

Status

From 1992 to 1996, the percentage of women in government (Permanent Secretary) increased from 38% to 61%; their percentage in parliament (Members of Parliament) increased from 8% to 15%; and, among Cabinet Ministers, it remained at 23%. At the local government level, the percentage of women among decision makers was 20% in 1996.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-Building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

No information is available

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

No information is available


Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

The goal set in Agenda 21 -- that, by the year 2000, more than 50% of youth, gender balanced, has access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training -- has been met.

With respect to decision-making, youth participate on an ad hoc basis in the national process

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

This topic was considered by the Government to be not relevant.

 

* * *

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

No information is available
Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The primary NGO which actively participates in programmes for sustainable development is The Bahamas National Trust (BNT). The BNT, which was established by Act of Parliament in 1959, is a self-funded NGO. It represents a unique collaboration of governmental, private sector and scientific interests dedicated to the conservation of the natural and historic resources of The Bahamas for the enjoyment and benefit of the Bahamian people. The Trust has made major contributions to the environmental process in The Bahamas by:

- Managing the National Park System of The Bahamas, as mandated by Act of Parliament. There are at present 12 National Parks and Protected Areas, and the Trust is developing recommendations for 52 additional parks sites to protect the country's biodiversity and significant historic and natural resources.
- Preparing a proposal for The Bahamas National Strategy for Environment and Development.
- Submitting recommendations, at the request of the Government, for the promotion of ecotourism and protection of the country's tourism product.
- Conducting an initial assessment of the feasibility of establishing protected areas within the Andros Barrier Reef System.
- Submitting recommendations on Bahamas fisheries regulations, including a successful campaign to halt long line fishing methods in territorial waters.
- Serving on the Board of Directors of The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) Executive Director).
- Developing and monitoring the successful management of the white-crowned pigeon gamebird population

Status

Within The Bahamas, mechanisms exist to facilitate the participation of NGOs in the decision-making process, and their inputs are important.

Challenges

Unfortunately, financial constraints prevent major groups from participating in the national delegations to the CSD and major conferences. When the subject is relevant, an NGO is permitted to represent The Bahamas in place of a Government official.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government supports Local Agenda 21 initiatives.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects

No information is available

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

ILO Conventions have been ratified.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

Workers do not yet participate in National Agenda 21 discussions or implementation.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Bahamas Council of Light Industries, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the Bahamas Institute of Professional Engineers and the Grand Bahamas Port Authority are all advisory and ad-hoc members of the National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism. Oil companies, labour unions and others are not members of this coordination mechanism. Major group organizations participate in environmental impact assessment projects at the national and local level. The Government sent representatives from major groups to the SIDS Global Meeting in Barbados, in November 1994.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

There are governmental policies to encourage increased efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

Most big enterprises and a few small and medium sized enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-Raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

 * * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The BEST Commission has established a Science and Technology Committee to address the issue of improving exchange of knowledge and concerns between the S&T community and the general public, among others.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

FARMERS

No information is available.

 

* * *

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) and the Bahamas National Trust are the institutions which facilitate dialogue among the scientific community, the Government and the public at large with respect to issues related to sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Science is incorporated into decision-making for sustainable development in conducting Environmental Impact Assessments with respect to all new developments.

Research permits are required for scientists wishing to carry out ecological and biological research in The Bahamas, and several research stations already exist (in San Salvador and North Andros for example).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

In 1997, The Bahamas will produce a metadatabase of existing scientific information on Bahamian Biodiversity through the GEF funded Biodiversity Data Management Project. The metadatabase is expected to indicate the coverage of various scientific research efforts. It is anticipated that the project will also provide indication of where efforts are required to address deficiencies and assign scientific research efforts in the future.

Status

The Bahamas does not possess the human and financial resources to expand and further develop the sustainable use of its natural resources. Collaborative efforts in marine and terrestrial ecology, geology and hydrogeology help to expand The Bahamas' scientific knowledge. Research activity is largely driven from the point at which non-national academic priorities and the interest of The Bahamas coincide. The Bahamas Government provides logistical support in exchange for the sharing of the results of the academic findings of reputable international scientific endeavours.

Approximately five to ten scientists are engaged in research and experimental development through activities sponsored by the College of The Bahamas. This includes work conducted both within the College's confines and in the field station it maintains on San Salvador, the Island which was the first landfall of Columbus in the New World. In addition, it is estimated that on an annual basis 10 to 30 persons assist indirectly in various scientific endeavours covering the marine and terrestrial environment.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

The Bahamas presently has limited access to scientific information, but increasingly the value and importance of accessing the Internet, and the availability of information on BioNet, CARINET and other regional networks is being recognised.

Increasingly, a local training component is being included in the research permit proposals, and research permit holders are sending reports and other material back to The Bahamas. The stock of local information is therefore increasing.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 4 June 1998.

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

The public sector is experiencing a process of adjustment, driven by the need to acknowledge the facility with which information can be accessed and manipulated. Emphasis is placed on structures that merge information, knowledge and action.

The Government does not have a programme to develop or use indicators of sustainable development at the national, regional, or international levels. The BEST Commission is involved in the work on indicators of sustainable development, but work has just begun. There has been an effort to establish an overall policy and framework for information at the national level, by integrating environment and development information.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

In the context of the rapid evolution of information technology, The Bahamas supports the development of a Small Island Developing States Information Network (SID/NET) to facilitate the exchange of experience among islands.

The Bahamas is currently conducting a Biodiversity Data Management Project to develop a data base to assist in the decision making process.

Progress has been made with the introduction of a new Geographic Information System by the Ministry of Finance and Planning. In finding rational solutions to equip decision makers with information which would promote sustainable development in The Bahamas, it was recognised that GIS technology is the information system which may be utilised to manage a wide range of land resource/spatial applications. High national priority was therefore given to the development of an "Enterprise Wide G.I.S." in a multi-agency environment with technical assistance provided by the Inter-American Development Bank and funding and technical assistance provided by the Japanese Government.

The overall objective of The Bahamas National GIS Project is geared to strengthening the GIS Unit (anticipated new name: The GIS Centre) and to expanding the use of GIS technology in Government agencies. It was therefore decided that The Bahamas Government would proceed with the B.N.G.I.S. Project as a forerunner to an overall land use project. The problems that have mitigated against the effective guidance and control of the use of land have been identified as follows: weak town planning legislation, weak institutions responsible for control and land development, particularly in the Family Islands, and a dearth of data. Action is now being taken to correct these weaknesses particularly in respect to data collection. Preparation of a comprehensive Land Use Plan and Enforcement Instrument is a top priority for New Province and the major Family Islands. This is a major undertaking but is needed to complement the land use/transportation study now in progress.

Status

The self-rating of available data on the conservation of biological diversity and of data on biotechnology is very good.

Challenges

As information technology explodes, greater specialization is needed to master these changes, while at the same time greater teamwork is required to recombine it into meaningful output. Rapid response requires leanness in the organizations.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The main sources of information on sustainable development are UN agencies.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Among the relevant Conventions ratified by the Government of The Bahamas are the following:
Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean
Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wild Life (SPAW)
Protocol for Combating Oil Spills
Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992
Copenhagen Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1992
London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1990
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1989
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987
Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1986
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982
Protocol to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1976
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 1973
Protocol Relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, and Amendments of 1969 and 1971
International Convention for the Establishment of an International Compensation Fund for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969
The Treaty regarding Principles Governing the Activities of States in Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies, 1967
Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelco), 1967
Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere in Outer Space and Under Water, 1963

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

The BEST Commission is establishing an administrative and legal process to identify the relationships and overlaps between such agreements. Legislation is to be drafted to ensure that regulations are in force to support the provisions of these conventions.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status

No information is available.

Challenges

The main constraints to the implementation of international legal instruments related to sustainable development have been the lack of resources, technical expertise and funding.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

The BEST Commission's Committee on International Obligations is mid-way through an in-depth study of all the obligations under each Convention ratified by The Bahamas with a view to coordinating all sustainable development issues.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of The Bahamas to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.


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