Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs in the Caribbean

A Regional Validation Workshop was hosted by the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean on  September 25th, 2014 to  September 26th, 2014 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port of Spain. 

The workshop was attended by one Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Operational Focal Point and one Stockholm Convention National Focal or Official Contact Point from each of the following eight (8) Caribbean territories: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

These countries represent the member states involved in the GEF funded full-sized project “Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Caribbean”. Ms. Keima Gardiner, Environmental Engineering Specialist, Environmental Policy Analyst represented the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources at the Workshop.

The workshop was convened to:
  • finalise all technical administrative and financial elements of the project as discussed in the Town Meetings held in July, 2014 in the respective territories 
  • refine the budget and work plan for the project 
  • provide an official forum for consensus building and project validation 
Representatives from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) were present to facilitate information sharing among project member states and foster collaboration in advance of official project implementation. This was done by providing participants with resource material and empirical information on UNIDO's experiences with POPs and unintentional POPs (uPOPs) in other countries. The Regional Consultant for the Project, Ms. Camille Roopnarine, gave an in-depth review of the project components as it related to the expected outputs, affiliated activities and budgetary allocations for each. 

At the end of the Workshop, regional stakeholders agreed in principle with the outcomes and this was to be confirmed through the provision of individual co-financing agreements.

Group photo of the participants including Ms. Gardiner (front, 4th from the left) at the GEF funded Regional POPs Project with representation from Caribbean states, UNIDO and BCRC-Caribbean.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

ICC 2014

Annually, the 3rd Saturday in September, volunteers around the world remove millions of pounds of discarded material from oceans and waterways as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Trinidad was no exception as on Saturday 20th September, 2014 at approximately 19 beaches and waterways across the country, dedicated volunteers rendered their time and service in this data collection exercise.

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) journeyed to the east coast to Manzanilla to clean up the surrounding environment and improve the beach's aesthetics for ICC 2014. The Honourable Minister Ganga Singh as well as the Honourable Minister Romana Ramdial, alongside the Permanent Secretary, Ms. Vidiah Ramkelawan and representatives of the Ministry's Head Office, the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD), the Communications Department,Human Resources, the Accounts Division, the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) and the National Reforestation and Watershed Rehabilitation Programme (NRWRP) all braved the inclement weather on that morning to support’ Trash Free Seas’. 

Within their groups of four, participants enthusiastically collected plastic bottles, food wrappers, grocery bags, bottle caps, fishing rope, dead animals and other debris both natural and anthropogenic. By the end of the cleanup exercise, several bags of debris were collected and the condition of the beach improved considerably, as did the weather. 

All sponsors and volunteers deserve commendation for continuously organising and supporting this event.  Their efforts are useful for providing quantitative data to inform decision makers, researchers, the public and   organisations such as the Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development (CNIRD) and the National Planning Committee (NPC). Additionally, this initiative provides substantive evidence of the need for us to heighten our environmental cognizance and alter our behaviour, in the hope that in future years less debris will be collected from these coastal sites. 
Honourable Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Ganga Singh (centre)
 with the staff of the MEWR  who participated in ICC 2014.



Friday, 19 September 2014

Data Collection and Monitoring of National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators Workshop

On September 17th, 2014, the Multilateral Environmental Agreement Unit (MEAU) of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) held a Workshop with key stakeholders charged with assisting in the management of the country’s biological resources, and discharging the Government’s obligations under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

Ms. Candace Amoroso chairing the Data Collection and Monitoring of  National Biodiversity
Targets  and Indicators Workshop in September, 2014.

The key stakeholders included representatives from the Central Statistical Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, Fisheries, Agricultural Planning and Research Divisions and Aquaculture Unit of the Ministry of Food  Production, the Environmental Management Authority, Forestry Division of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources as well as the Department of the Natural Resources and the Environment, Tobago House of Assembly.
Through a consultative process with key stakeholders held during the period April–June, 2014 draft National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators were developed. The Targets and Indicators will allow Trinidad and Tobago to more efficiently monitor the status of and guide management and conservation interventions of the country’s biological resources and as such would greatly  contribute to the country in achieving the objectives of the CBD.

As a follow-up, the Workshop in September was undertaken to discuss and determine responsibilities for data collection and monitoring of the proposed draft National Biodiversity, which were previously refined via consultations with stakeholders in April– June, 2014.

The stakeholders were also informed that the finalised list of National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators along with the proposed list of data collectors were to be submitted to the   Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as the National Biodiversity Targets and Indicators of the country.

Participants discussing and determining their roles in  data collection and monitoring of
 the proposed National Biodiversity targets and indicators.