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Nick Robson

Economic and Social Sustainability

The next four decades are going to be extremely challenging in many ways. They will be challenging not only economically and socially, these islands will also be challenged by a changing climate, exposing us to much higher levels of risk, as well as exposed politically to violent winds of change. There are also the issues of energy security and sea level rise that will have to be addressed.

The current leadership of these islands have time and again proved themselves incapable of visualizing and planning for the future, and the concomitant issues that we are going to faced with in the medium and long-term. I often feel overwhelmed by complacency, given that the only forward thinking runs in four year cycles and is politically driven. The Cayman Islands have never liked planning and as I often repeat "failing to plan is planning to fail".

For the Cayman Islands to prosper as a tourist destination we have to be able to offer the highest level of service for the best possible price, we have to out perform and undercut our competition. One of the drivers of accommodation costs in energy, and it would appear that the powers-that-be have not realized the necessity of renewable energy to benefit the Cayman Islands economy and lower the running costs of our hotels. Petroleum price instability driven by OPEC policy and Middle Eastern geo-politics could well bode ill for small island states like these islands by again sending oil prices into the stratosphere.

We have, for many years, needed to diversify our economy, for as most will realize, tourism and offshore finance are fickle industries, easily blown about by the winds of change, here today and gone tomorrow. InformationTechnology (IT) may well be one area in which to diversify, however, the cost and availability of internet bandwidth, at present, makes this an impossibility, this may, however, change as technology and algorithms improve.

To survive and prosper these islands need need a plan, and I suggest that our best plan would be to emulate Singapore. We do not need, nor do we have the time, to undertake a lengthy planning exercise. Singapore functions thanks to many years of guidance by Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of the country.


About Nick Robson

Nick Robson has a rich background in the non-governmental (NGO) sector. He received his MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford. Nick has consulted for the British Red Cross in Disaster Management and is the founder of the Climate War Room and the Cayman Institute, a think tank doing policy research in areas such as global warming and climate change, energy security and economic sustainability for small island states. Nick also has a background in security and law enforcement. His geographical areas of interest are Central and South Asia and the Middle East as well as Small Island Developing States. He is also the Chief Coordinator of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) whose aims are to make a leading contribution to regional and international academic and policy-orientated research discourses about South Asian security.

His publications include Cayman Islands Energy Policy: Background Advisory Report and Sea Level Rise and Its Implications for the Cayman Islands (see MA Dissertation: Madrasah Education in Pakistan: An Alleged Terrorist Training Ground © Nicholas B. Robson - 2004

-Geopolitical, strategic and security implications of climate & energy security
-Food and water security implications
-Climate / Refugee problem
-Conflict and climate change
-Disaster management and climate change
-Economic, political and social issues in the world's smallest countries and dependencies (including SIDS)
-Counter Terrorism
-Disaster Response
-IFRC. Human Rights
-Int'l Human Rights Academy (University of Utrecht)
-UN training in Peace Keeping Operations (UNITAR)
-Climate Reality Advocate with The Climate Reality Project
-Permaculture Designer



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