The 2014 World Environment Week has officially started in Barbados. Only days ahead of World Environment Day (WED, 5 June) a religious service was offered on 1 June 2014 in observance of WED and in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of the First Conference of Small Island Development States, held in Barbados. The service took place at the Cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels, in Bridgetown. In attendance were His Excellency Sir Elliott Belgrave, Governor-General of Barbados, Dr. the Hon. Denis S. Lowe, M.P., Minister of the Environment and Drainage and Senator the Hon. Darcy W. Boyce, Minister of Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados. The United Nations Environment Programme was represented by Naysan Sahba, Director of Communications and Public Information.
The Dean of St Michael, the Very Reverend Dr Frank Marshall’s invocation with the people focused on the particular challenges of SIDS communities: “As a people representative of Small Island Developing States, we stand aware of our size and vulnerability….Strengthen us in the belief that in a spirit of humility, mutual respect and cooperation with each other, and that with you on the people’s side, we can arise with a new vision and faith, and conquer those adverse elements, which otherwise threaten the sustainable development of our lands and region.” A special prayer for the occasion sought inspiration and an increase in all people of “such a spirit of humility and gratitude as to be careful in conserving the powers of the soil and in the protection of the coral reefs,” and to show humanity “how to live in harmony with nature, how to control the impulse to waste, abuse or destroy, and how to utilize and share our varied gifts and resources.”
The event not only opened a week of WED activity hosted by Barbados—itself part of the country’s Environment Month—but also pointed to the third UN SIDS conference, to be held in Samoa in September, a key moment in this, the International Year of Small Island Developing States.