by Shawn Cumberbatch

Amid the tourism gloom and economic challenges local officials have been given reason to smile.

barbadoslandmarkOne year after being cut from a group of the world’s 10 best ethical destinations, Barbados has been re-added by international non-profit organisation Ethical Traveler.

While noting that the island had some shortcomings, including those related to sexual rights, and human trafficking, the Ethical Destinations 2013 report praised the islands for its human development, absence of corruption, and focus on green energy, reasons which allowed it to re-enter the top 10.

Barbados is the only Caribbean island on the list. The other top 10 countries were Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Ghana, Latvia, Lithuania, Mauritius, Palau, Samoa, and Uruguay.

Ethical Traveler listed the things Barbados had going for it and those it needed to work on.

The favourable areas it mentioned were:

* Working with the United Nations Environmental Programme, the comprehensive Barbados Green Economy Scoping Study was compiled to highlight policy, investment, and governance options to further integrate environmental protection to Barbados’ social and economic fabric.

* Approved the Mangrove Pond Green Energy Complex and is developing community outreach with the Public Sector Smart Energy programme.

* Highest Human Development Index (very high human development) of all the CARICOM member states.

* Praised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights this year for its excellent standing in literacy and education.

* The second best ranking in the Americas after Canada in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The areas the island needed to work on to ensure it sustained its position on the ethical destination list related to improvements in the management of human rights, including more women in government and progressing rights related to homosexuality.

In terms of the negative side, the report also pointed out that Government “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”.

“The Government has not shown evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year,” it said.

“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Government of Barbados to adopt stronger culture of human rights in order to achieve developed country status.”

Explaining how it came up with its top 10, Ethical Traveler said it followed a review of the policies and practices of hundreds of nations in the developing world.

“We then select the ten that are doing the most impressive job of promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and upholding civil society — all while creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry,” it stated.

“By visiting these countries, we can use our economic power to support best practices.”

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