Event to give young people a say in Blue Prosperity Plan
Young people were invited to provide input on how Bermuda can mitigate long-term threats such as climate change as part of a consultation on The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan.
The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme, in partnership with the Bermuda Zoological Society, held a Young Leaders Engagement Session at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo last Friday to consult on environmental issues.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Home Affairs, said: “The public consultation period is a valuable opportunity to connect with Bermuda’s young people and encourage them to find their voices in local policy decisions.
“The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan will shape economic and environmental issues impacting Bermuda’s youth.
“As such, we must take the time to ensure they understand the importance of protecting the island’s waters and how we can mitigate and provide solutions to long-term challenges, such as climate change.”
Environmental organisations including BZS, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute supported the event and submitted nominations for Young Leader Session participants.
Kasey Bell, a participant, said the event had inspired and motivated her to engage in the process.
She said: “I already knew I wanted to be an oceanographer, but this showed me how important the work is, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to discuss these issues with my peers.”
During the event, Department of Environment and Natural Resources representatives presented highlights from the draft plan, while BZS facilitated discussions.
Colin Brown, the BZS president, said: “The BZS is committed to providing the next generation of stewards in Bermuda with unique experiential learning opportunities that help to foster a lifelong interest in conservation and ocean policy through its mission to inspire appreciation and care of island environments.”
The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan is open to public comment until November 12. It has two components – the Blue Economy Strategy, a guideline for growing Bermuda's ocean-related industries and attracting investment, and the Marine Spatial Plan, a framework for implementing sustainable ocean development, protection, and management.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “This draft plan uses the best available science and builds from extensive input from the Government of Bermuda, the local scientific community, stakeholder groups, and Bermuda’s public.”
Engagement sessions have taken place in Hamilton, Somerset and St George’s while stakeholder meetings are ongoing.
“The Blue Prosperity Plan is a way to secure a better future for young Bermudians and it is important to hear what they want for the future of Bermuda’s ocean,” said Weldon Wade, BOPP’s communications co-ordinator.
“The next generation will inherit our decisions and we need to include them in the conversation.”