Bowe: Utilize national development plan to chart course

Bowe: Utilize national development plan to chart course
Former Chairman of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Gowon Bowe

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas would effectively be ‘fighting in the dark’ if it does not utilize the national development plan to address issues such as the impact of climate change in a holistic manner, a well known accountant has stated.

Gowon Bowe told Eyewitness News this nation must not be drawn into ‘knee jerk’ reactions in response to various threats.

Bowe was commenting on a recent assessment by the credit ratings agency Moody’s which recently noted that The Bahamas is among the top four nations forecast to be hit hardest by rising sea levels.

Moody’s noted that up to 15 percent of annual GDP could be in jeopardy.

“I think that when we talk about the national development persons need to appreciate that the national development plan had identified the environment, the natural as well as the built environment as one of the four policy pillars,” said Bowe.

“The plan took into consideration things like the sea level rise and it started to contemplate our resilience and the protection of various elements of the natural environment that we don’t often think about.

He continued: “When the think about threats and opportunities as a country we can focus on not a knee jerk reaction to things that are going to take place but have a measured and thought out process we are going to try and adopt.

“We have to appreciate that there is no one solution or strategy to cover all elements. That is why having a holistic and comprehensive plan that looks ahead 25-30 years is so important.

Moody’s drew on multiple studies to identify The Bahamas as well as Vietnam, Egypt and Suriname – as the four countries most threatened by rising sea levels resulting from global warming.The ratings agency drawing on a World Bank study noted that only Vietnam and Suriname faced more severe economic consequences in a worst-case sea level rise scenario.

The Moody’s report noted that a one-metre sea level rise would submerge 11.6 percent of this nation’s total land mass which would would endanger 4.7 percent of GDP, given the tourism industry’s reliance on coastal sites, and 4.6 percent of the Bahamian population.

A sea level rise of three metres would impact almost one-third of all land in The Bahamas, it stated.

Yesterday, Bowe said: “To continue without the national development plan is effectively fighting in the dark the dark.

“You really are only striking at things you either feel or touch in the very immediate future as opposed to thinking about things that are down the road.

“We can’t look at things that have been developing over a very long period of time and think we can address them at the tail end or wait until it’s sitting right on top of us. We have to be thinking long term,” he added.