Saturday, September 26, 2009

Grenada Donates My Painting to the Smithsonian Museum

Nearly three years ago, the Prime Minister of Grenada asked me to solve a growing conflict over a proposed Four Seasons Resort Development and Grenada's National Bird, a critically endangered species that was further threatened by the proposed development. I got all the parties together: The World Bank, Global Environment Facility, the Ministry of Agriculture, National Geographic and a local NGO, People in Action and the Four Seasons Developers (Cinnamon88) - to identify a way to enable the resort development to go forward in a 'win-win' manner - where the environment and the economy would be given equal consideration until a solution was found.

We succeeded, and that success is now called, 'The Mt. Hartman Consensus'.

Following that, Grenada's Cabinet Appointed me the Chair of the National Trust Development Committee after I made a presentation to Cabinet requesting it's formation. The committee was intended to convene local and international 'experts' to create the most equitable, democratic and durable arrangement possible for the long term maintenance of Grenada's Protected Areas. It had been a proposed activity developed by the Nature Conservancy.

Having a sustainable development expert in the Prime Minister's Office really helped get the agenda moving forward. I think every Prime Minister's office in every country should have one.

The impetus behind the Trust was the Nature Conservancy, ready to donate $20 million USD to establish capital funds that would operate as a sustainable financing mechanism for protected areas in the Caribbean. This generous offer came as part of the "Caribbean Challenge" - a challenge for Caribbean Islands to protect 20% of their natural habitats by 2020. The challenge was first announced by Dr. Spencer Thomas on behalf of Grenada at a Biodiversity Summit a few years earlier.

Knowing of my involvement in protected the Grenada Dove, my work advancing sustainable development and my artistic flair - Dr. Thomas told me he wanted me to paint a Grenada Dove that could be donated to the Smithsonian Museum by the Government of Grenada.

The painting, attached to this article, was officially handed over to Dr. Thomas on September 16th, 2009; where he and the Minister of Finance, Nazim Burke, would present it to the Smithsonian, while in the United States attending the UN Climate Change talks.

Dr. Thomas has assured me he will give me photo's of the official handing over, and provide info on where the painting is located at the Museum, so I will post that when it arrives.