UN and Private Sector launch Barbados’ first SDG-branded Bus

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Hundreds of commuters in Barbados are poised to learn more about the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and how they can help to contribute to their realization, with the launch of Barbados’, and the region’s, first electric SDG-branded bus.

The SDG bus, a joint effort between the United Nations, the private sector, and the Government of Barbados, was launched at UN House last Friday, as part of a global #ACT Now Campaign aimed at inspiring people everywhere to act for the SDGs. Efforts are underway to attract further private sector investment to expand the initiative to other buses.

The branded electric bus, which features the vibrant colours of the 17 SDGs wrapped on both sides, and messaging promoting the importance of the global goals, was launched in  partnership with primary sponsor, CG United Insurance Limited, the Barbados Transport Board, and the Office of the Prime Minister. It is part of the Barbados Transport Board’s existing fleet of 59 electric buses.

In addressing the launch, CEO of CG United Insurance Limited, Randy Graham, said his company was happy to be one of the first in the private sector to answer the call to support this effort, being cognizant of the impact that individual behaviors can have on the environment, our people, and our businesses.

“As a member of the United Nations Global Compact, we are aware of our Company’s role in our region’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Being a responsible corporate citizen, we have begun our journey to align our practices to ensure a sustainable and inclusive future for the people of Barbados and the regional markets in which we live and operate,” he said.

Chief Operations Officer of the Barbados Transport Board, Lynda Holder, described the launch as a ‘significant step towards a brighter future’. She added: “The SDGs as outlined by the UN are meant to serve as a compass for global efforts to address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, and as a responsible corporate citizen we recognize the importance of aligning out operations with those global goals to create a positive impact.”

While lauding Barbados for being “ on track” on most of the SDGs, and being above the global and regional averages, with half of the 95 targets expected to be met by or before 2030, UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, thanked both companies for their partnership, describing it as “a tangible example of the transformative power of private sector collaboration.

He continued: “We hope that that this rolling canvas that travels across the island will spark conversations, raise awareness, and also inspire individuals and communities to embrace the campaign and take steps forward for a more sustainable future.”

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, with responsibility for the SDGs, Senator the Hon. Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight described the  initiative  as an exemplar, particularly for SDG17, which is about partnership, noting that it was in keeping with Barbados’ goal of becoming the first SIDS  with 100% renewable and carbon neutral by 2030, with Barbados having the highest penetration of Transport Board electric  vehicles of 59 buses, with more to come very soon.

She told the gathering: “The spirit of SDG 17 recognizes that we cannot as a nation, as people, achieve the SDGs on our own, but that we need collaboration at different levels to be able to do so. SDG 17 calls on Governments, it calls on the private sector, it calls on the UN, it calls on other development agencies, to be able to put our hands to the toil to lift up this humongous task that we have for our society and for our people.

“It requires us to step back from ourselves sometimes and see the bigger picture – the fate of humanity that we have, and the challenges that we face, and agree together that we will work in order to be able to address those challenges,” the Minister concluded.

The SDG-branded bus has been assigned to the Granville Williams Bus Terminal in Bridgetown and will primarily cover routes across the island’s central and eastern parishes – St. Michael, Christ Church, St. Philip, St. John, and St. George.

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