Thursday, 29 May 2014

Official Hand-over of the NIP on POPs

With an aim to further enhance the management of toxic and harmful chemicals affecting human health and the environment, Trinidad and Tobago fulfilled one of its obligations as a signatory to the Stockholm Convention through the development of a National Implementation Plan (NIP) on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The completion of the NIP was commemorated through an official handover ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Friday 23 May, 2014.

The official handover of the NIP between the UNDP  represented by Ms. Rosemary Lal (left) and the MEWR  represented by the Honourable Minister Ganga Singh, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (right).
This NIP was developed with grant funding provided through the United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) and with technical support from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

 As part of completing the NIP, an assessment of the major types and sources of POPs in the country was conducted. Some of the main findings arising from the study include:

    • there is no production of POPs pesticides or  chemicals in the country; 
    • importation of POPs is effectively prohibited; 
    •  there are no POPs chemicals presently on the market apart from some PCB transformers that are reaching the end of their useful life and; 
    •  Trinidad and Tobago’s main concerns relate to the unintentional release of POPs (uPOPs) primarily through flaring in the petrochemical industry and open burning  of waste and agricultural residue. 

To minimize the risks posed not only by the original “dirty dozen” (an initial twelve chemicals or chemical groups identified by the Stockholm Convention needing priority action) but also the latter additions of POPs, the NIP recommends a series of actions to be implemented over a five (5) year period.  These measures outline the main actors involved in each process, estimated budgetary requirements, as well as a metric for evaluating  implementation success.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Reginonal Workshop for the Caribbean Sub-Region of GRULAC for the UNCCD

The Partnership Initiative on Sustainable Land Management (PISLM) in conjunction with the Global Mechanism held a regional workshop on May 12 – 16th, 2014 in Port of Spain for the Caribbean Sub-Region of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Mr. Julius Smith, Environmental Biologist, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. The purpose of the workshop was to orient CARICOM party states to the Convention on the use of the revised Performance Review Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS II).  The PRAIS II is a secure online database where country parties are expected to input their information and data to compile their national reporting. 

The second aspect of the Workshop was the meeting of the PISLM Task Force which was concluding its two (2) year term in 2014. The Task Force is comprised of Caribbean party states including Spanish speaking territories and the committee  provides oversight and directives to the activities of the PISLM. The current 2014-2016 biennium’s Task Force would consist of the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Jamaica,  Grenada  and Trinidad and Tobago. It should be noted that Trinidad and Tobago has been appointed chair for the current term. 

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago had pledged financial support for the operational costs of the PISLM for the first 5 years of its establishment. September 2014 marks the end of that commitment period and the Task Force was therefore required to agree on modalities for the PISLM to generate income to bridge any possible funding gaps.

In summary, it was decided that the PISLM would act as an implementing agency for the revision of National Action Programmes as well as facilitate National Reporting across the CARICOM region as the primary option for winning revenue.  Furthermore, the PISLM would provide  technical backstopping for Sustainable Land Management projects on a regional  basis.

LECB Caribbean Regional Workshop

A regional workshop entitled “Low-Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme - Engaging the Private Sector to Contribute to Climate Change - Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Workshop” was held in Santiago, Chile during the period May 14-16, 2014.

The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was represented at the Workshop by Ms. Sindy Singh, Environmental Policy and Planning Division,  Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and Mr. Ryan Assiu, Environmental Management Authority (EMA). 
The Workshop aimed to build capacities to design and implement Low Emission Development through national mitigation actions in public and/ or private sectors among LECB participating countries in the Latin  America and Caribbean region. The workshop had four objectives: 

  • Initiate a public-private dialogue on stimulating involvement of the private sector in climate change mitigation; 
  •  Discuss experiences in private sector participation on mitigation activities and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs); 
  •  Engage various actors in a discussion on policy objectives and  innovative approaches to support mitigation activities and  NAMAs; 
  •  Exchange lessons learned on improving market conditions to enhance private investment.

Ms. Sindy Singh (MEWR) at the LECB - Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Workshop (May 14 –16, 2014).

Overall, it was concluded that there is a significant need to leverage private sector finance for climate change mitigation as public sector funds are not sufficient for the required levels of greenhouse gas abatement to avoid the dangerous anthropogenic climate change as committed to in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Therefore, in order to leverage such funds, it was decided that there was a need for appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks, incentives and measurement, reporting and verification systems for the implementation of NAMAs.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Shine a light on climate action T&T! - Call for Applications 2014

Trinidad and Tobago apply to have your climate change project recognized as a 2014 Lighthouse Activity!

From 31 March to 23 May, 2014 the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat’s Momentum for Change Initiative invites communities, cities, businesses and governments that are taking concrete action to address climate change to apply to have their projects recognized as a 2014 Lighthouse Activity. 

Lighthouse Activities are examples of action on climate change taking place around the world. Showcasing these activities provides a positive context for international climate negotiations and demonstrates that action on climate change is possible and is already happening. 

The 2014 Lighthouse Activities will recognize climate action in four key areas: 
Lighthouse Activities benefit from a tailored support package that focuses on access to knowledge, expertise and networks.

>>For more information on Lighthouse Activities, associated benefits and how to apply, visit: 

National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators Workshop

On April 30th, 2014, the Multilateral Environmental Agreement Unit (MEAU) of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) held a Workshop with an initial set of key stakeholders with the aim of refining draft National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators.

This Workshop emanated from the decisions of the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), where the updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period was adopted. This Strategic Plan which included 20 targets termed Aichi Biodiversity Targets are to be revised and adapted into national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

View of participants and Ms. Amoroso (MEAU) giving a presentation on the CBD and the Strategic Plan 2010-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets
The Draft National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators were initially developed within the MEAU. Their achievement would greatly contribute to the country in accomplishing the three (3) objectives of the Convention:
  1. the conservation of biological diversity,
  2.  the sustainable use of its components, and
  3. the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
In attendance were representatives from the Ministry of Food Production, the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the University of the West Indies (UWI), Forestry Division, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

Dr. Homer (MEAU) giving a presentation on biodiversity indicators.
An additional Workshop is in the process of being planned for June 2014. The draft National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators coming out of the initial Workshop held on April 30th, 2014 will be further discussed and refined by the MEA Focal Point Network before they are submitted to Cabinet for approval as the National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators of the country. 

Presentations from the National Biodiversity Targets Workshop: 

Capacity Building Workshop on Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration

The Capacity Building Workshop for the Caribbean on Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration to support achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets was held in Belize City, Belize from April 28th – May 2nd, 2014.

The Workshop was convened as part of a series by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in collaboration with the Food and  Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It sought to provide support to parties in the development of national targets and plans for ecosystem conservation and restoration within the framework of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity specifically its Aichi  Biodiversity Targets 5, 11 and 15. Targets 5, 11 and 15 set quantitative global targets to reduce the loss of natural habitats, improve protected area networks and restore degraded areas.

In attendance at the Workshop were representatives from Caribbean Parties to the CBD, the  CBD  Secretariat as well as   international and regional organisations. Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Ms. Anastasia Gordon, Environmental Policy Analyst, Environmental Policy and  Planning Division and Mr. Denny Dipchansingh, Acting Director of Northern Range Reforestation Project (NRRP),  Forestry Division; both from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
L-R: Mr. Dipchansingh and Ms. Gordon engaged in one of the small group activities of  the Capacity Building Workshop in Belize ( April 28 - May 2, 2014).

 Over the duration of the five (5) day, participants gained knowledge of support available for the development of  national targets and plans for ecosystem conservation and restoration and for the integration of these targets 5, 11 and 15 into updated National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and mainstreaming them into broader national policies, plans and programmes. Additionally, Caribbean countries also developed capacity to use appropriate assessments, policy and planning tools to achieve ecosystem conservation and restoration at appropriate levels.