By Nickieta Sterling
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Campus director, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Western Jamaica Campus (WJC) Dr Patrick Prendergast, says innovative models and approaches are needed to enhance the process of developing sustainable cities and communities in Jamaica and the rest of the region; in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
“Our cities are among the fastest-growing economic and social enterprises requiring new levels of thinking and application towards public health and safety, crime control, traffic congestion, water and waste-water management and coastal management. It requires new models to enhance this process of building out a technological architecture that keeps our cities, our communities and our people in line with the global trend towards smart, safe and communicative cities,” he said.
Dr Prendergast was speaking during Thursday’s (September 17) virtual media launch of the WJC’s first Caribbean Sustainable Cities Conference scheduled for November 4-6, 2020 at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa, Montego Bay.
The conference, to be held under the theme: ‘Go Green. Go Safe. Go Smart (GS2)’ is an upscaling of the annual WJC Sustainable Cities Symposium and will bring together urban and rural planners, environmentalists, academics, researchers, policymakers, and students to critically reflect on the Caribbean’s attainment of SDG 11.
Dr Prendergast said that the conference is critical in turning the spotlight on the region, which “has its own special brand of resilience against varying vulnerabilities to international shocks, with many critical lessons not just for ourselves but for the entire world”.
For his part, chief executive officer at the St James Municipal Corporation, Gerald Lee, welcomed the staging of the conference.
He said that the entity looks forward to the “wide-ranging and far-reaching discussion that will take place,” which, he noted, will assist in the growth of the city.
He said that the Municipal Corporation will continue to play its part in bringing sustainability to Montego Bay and “have our city become the first smart city in the Caribbean.”
“Under the Emerging Sustainable City Initiative, for which some $15 million was allotted in the 2015-2016 Estimates of Expenditure, a sustainable action plan has been established for the Montego Bay urban township. This is aimed at addressing the main environmental issues affecting the long-term sustainability and development of the city,” Lee noted.