Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The First Session of the IPBES

The first session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-1) was held in Bonn, Germany from 21 to 26 January 2013.  Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Dr Floyd Homer, Biodiversity Specialist at the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

 At IPBES-1 the following issues (among other things) were discussed:
  • Rules and procedures for the operations of the Plenary of the Platform
  • Rules of procedure for meetings of the Plenary
  • Initial work programme of the Platform 
  •  Procedure for receiving and prioritizing requests put to the Platform 
  •  Role of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel 
  •  Possible institutional arrangements for the implementation of the work programme

During the session there was also an election of Officers of the Bureau of the Plenary of the Platform. This resulted in two persons from each of the regions represented being elected. The Bureau members for the Latin America and Caribbean region were Dr. Leonel Sierralta (Chile) and Dr. Spencer Thomas (Grenada).

Additionally, an election for members to the 25 person Multidisciplinary Expert Panel resulted in the following representatives from the Latin American and Caribbean Region: Dr. Sandra Myrna Diaz (Argentina), Dr. Carlos Alfredo Joly (Brazil), Mr. Edgar Selvin Perez (Guatemala), Dr. Julia Carabias Lillo (Mexico) and Dr. Floyd Homer (Trinidad and Tobago).

Some of the Caribbean delegates at IPBES-1: L to R – representative from Alwin Dornelly (St Lucia), Delamine Andrew (Antigua & Barbuda), Floyd Homer (Trinidad and Tobago), Simone Lewis (Grenada) and Randolph Edmead (St Kitts & Nevis)
>> Further details on the IPBES-1 meeting can be found at:

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Second Stakeholder Workshop for the Development of the National Profile for the Stockholm Convention

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, with support by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), recently hosted the Second National Stakeholder Workshop for the Development of the National Profile for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in Trinidad and Tobago.

Permanent Secretary, Vidiah Ramkhelawan giving welcoming remarks on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

As a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), Trinidad and Tobago is required to prepare a National Implementation Plan (NIP) which will guide the implementation of obligations of the Convention in the country. This project commenced in September 2011 and will continue for a period of two years.
There are two major components of this project. The first component is the Socio-Economic Assessment (SEA) for management of POPs. The SEA was a complete evaluation of the potential social and economic impacts of POPs in order to provide a basis for the minimisation of the negative effects on all sectors and population groups as well as provide a baseline to measure the effectiveness of planned interventions that form part of the NIP.

The second component of the NIP project is the development of a National Profile on Chemical and Waste Management in Trinidad and Tobago. This involved a comprehensive assessment of the national capacity and infrastructure for chemical and waste management, along with gaining an understanding of the nature and extent of chemicals availability and use in the country.

Dr. George Sammy, consultant for the National Profile, presenting the results of his findings

The findings of these components formed the basis of the Second National Stakeholder Workshop. The workshop was also aimed at raising awareness amongst relevant stakeholders, assessing present national capacities and ensuring that there are unified cooperative efforts on a National scale as the project moves to completion.

A working group session on one of the discussion topics of the workshop

The Ministry wishes to thank all stakeholders who attended the workshop and looks forward to their continued support as the Project progresses. 

Presentations and Discussion Points of the Workshop:


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sensitisation Training for Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technicians on Hydrocarbon Refrigerants

The National Ozone Unit (NOU) embarked on a drive to educate technicians on the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants as a preferred alternative to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Sector. 

Trinidad and Tobago opted to utilise this new refrigerant because it is :

safe for the environment  

it is Non-Ozone Depleting and; 

does not cause Global Warming unlike the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) alternatives currently available.

These series of training sessions took place in both Trinidad and Tobago during 2012 and early 2013. The final training session occurred in Tobago on 15th January, 2013 at Crowne Point Beach Hotel. Technicians were sensitised about hydrocarbon use and the safety precautions required when using these hydrocarbons. In addition, they were also refreshed on proper refrigeration practices.

The  facilitator, Mr. Vernon Ramjattan of the  National Energy Skills Centre (NESC)  (front, centre) and Dr. Marissa Gowrie, National Ozone Officer  (front, left) from the NOU, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources  addressing the technicians in a training session held in Tobago.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Consultants Needed for Forest and Protected Area Management Project in Trinidad and Tobago!

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources as the National Focal Point for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification was assisted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop a project proposal entitled “Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago”.

The four (4) year project is intended to conserve biodiversity in the country by setting up a protected areas system and enhancing capacity and finance for conservation management. It will also assist in the implementation of the new National Forest Policy and the National Protected Areas Policy.

The FAO is inviting suitable candidates to submit their applications for consultancy positions to provide baseline data on technical aspects of the project and inputs into the design of the project components to be used for completion of the full project proposal. 

Deadline for applications is Thursday 24th January, 2013.

Consultancy positions include:

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) Phase-Out

Trinidad and Tobago acceded to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, and the Montreal Protocol for the Phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in 1989. Our country was the first of the Caribbean Commonwealth to become a party to this Multilateral Environmental Agreement and has since ratified  all amendments to the Protocol.

Subsequent to the accession, the National Ozone Unit (NOU) was established in August 1997 within the Environmental Policy and Planning Division. This unit ensures that the country meets the obligations under the Protocol.  The efforts of the Unit over the years have resulted in the phase out of:

i. All ozone depleting substances (ODS) used in the fire protection sector (halons)

ii.Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in the foam and aerosol sectors 

iii.The imports of all CFCs as of December 31, 2007.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) was one of the chemicals used as a transient replacement for CFCs because the potential level of damage to the ozone layer was less than that caused by CFC use. However, given the increase in usage of HCFC on the global market and the consequent threat to the ozone layer, a landmark decision was made at the 20th Anniversary Meeting of the Montreal Protocol to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs.

Under this accelerated phase out schedule, the following was revised:

The phase out of HCFCs in Trinidad and Tobago began on January 1, 2013. Even though we do not produce any ozone depleting substances, our consumption is based on our imports. As a result, these chemicals are listed on the country's import negative list and require and import license from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Draft Wildlife Policy is out for comments!

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, in collaboration with the Forestry Division, has recently developed a Draft Wildlife Policy for Trinidad and Tobago. 

The Draft Policy seeks to provide guidance on the sustainable management of wild animals and plants, whether migratory or found locally. 

Sustainable management also applies to wildlife body parts and/or products derived from wildlife as well as their habitats. The Policy addresses issues related to the endangerment and management of threatened species. It also focuses on key policy issues related to the management of game species and the engagement of civil society in wildlife management.

We welcome the public to review and provide comments on the Draft National Wildlife Policy and/or attend one (or more) of the four public consultations to be held across Trinidad and Tobago during  January and February 2013:

SOUTH (South Academy of Performing Arts)
January 28, 2013; 1-6 p.m.
EAST (Sangre Grande Civic Centre)
January 30, 2013; 1-6 p.m.
NORTH (Centre of Excellence)
February 20, 2013; 1-6 p.m.
TOBAGO (Works Division, Shaw Park)
February 27, 2013; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
» For more information on how to review and submit your comments, attend public consultations or locate distribution centres for hard copies of the Draft Wildlife Policy,  please click here or visit