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Dr John Agard to deliver Professorial Lecture on Environment in Development

For Release Upon Receipt - February 22, 2010

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, will hold the Professorial Inaugural Lecture of Professor John Agard on Thursday 25th February at 5.30pm at the Learning Resource Centre, UWI St. Augustine.

Dr. John B. R. Agard is Professor of Tropical Island Ecology and Head of the Department of Life Sciences at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Trinidad and Tobago. He is a former Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (EMA). He has served internationally as Lead Author in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He is currently a Lead Author in the European Union sponsored global assessment of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) project. Professor Agard also serves as a member of the US based, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Independent Advisory Group on Sustainability.

Professor Agard’s lecture, which is titled “Environment in Development: From Plantation Economy, Biodiversity Loss and Global Warming, Towards Sustainable Development,” will argue that the Plantation Economy Model of Caribbean economic structures and characteristics can be further elaborated by the inclusion of the environment as a provider of ecosystem services. 

The Plantation Economy Model was developed by Professor Kari Polanyi Levitt and the late Dr Lloyd Best in the 1960s as a schematisation of global economics in which the relationship between the outside world and the plantation is characterised by the distinction between a metropole and a hinterland of exploitation.

Professor Agard suggests that the hinterland of exploitation includes not only people and mineral resources but living nature and its services as well. This new eco-industrial characterisation of development could be a transition phase to a more sustainable development model. Examples will be provided of approaches to mainstreaming environmental considerations into development and planning decisions at global, regional and local levels. These range from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the 4th Assessment of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook to EMA’s Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules, as well as the Nariva Swamp Restoration and Carbon Sequestration Project.

For more information about Professor Agard’s Lecture, please contact the Marketing and Communications Office at (868) 662 2002 Ext. 2013 or 2014.

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About Professor John Agard

Professor Agard’s academic research and professional service are mainly directed at defining the role and value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human well-being and sustainable development in small island developing states.  He holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Zoology from UWI, a M.Sc. in Pollution and Environmental Control from the University of Manchester, UK and a Ph.D. from The UWI.

At the international level, he has interfaced his scientific knowledge with his practical experience through participation as a Lead Author in major global integrated environmental assessment exercises. These include the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) published in 2005, the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-4) 2007 and the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007. The MA authors received the Zayed Prize for the Environment while the IPCC and Al Gore shared the 2007 Noble Peace Prize.

At the regional level, he is a member of the Caribbean Sea Commission formed by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to advance the cause of integrated management of the Caribbean Sea. He also serves as a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Task Force on Climate Change. Professor Agard is a member of the Science Committee of the Iwokrama International Centre for Development and Rainforest Conservation (IIC), Guyana.

At the local level, Professor Agard’s strategy is to promote the integration of environment in development and to collaborate with a widening circle of collaborators including Government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), Industry and young people. In this way, he has been directly involved in applying science in the public domain via the creation of environmental policy, laws and systems as a former Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. He has also had a direct input into national development planning as Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Environment, of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Vision 2020 project whose responsibility was to formulate a strategic development plan for Trinidad and Tobago.

About Lloyd Best

Dr Lloyd Best pioneered the New World Movement and its journal, New World Quarterly; and Tapia, a movement, a journal and a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. He also founded the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of the West Indies (now the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies) as a think tank for research and discussion of Caribbean issues. Most of his writings were published as newspaper columns spanning decades of endeavour. He is the author of Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom and co-author (with Eric St Cyr) of Economic Policy and Management Choices: A Contemporary Economic History of Trinidad and Tobago, 1950–2005.

About Kari Polanyi Levitt

Kari Polanyi Levitt is Professor Emerita, Department of Economics, McGill University, Canada. Among her publications are Silent Surrender: The Multinational Corporation in Canada; Reclaiming Development: Independent Thought and Caribbean Community; and a comprehensive collection, The George Beckford Papers. She is founder of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development and of the Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy in Canada.

About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.