Monday, 27 October 2014

Bonn Climate Change Conference

From October 20-24, 2014, the sixth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban  Platform for  Enhanced Action (ADP 2-6) under the United  Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Bonn, Germany.

Among the country parties to the UNFCCC who participated, Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Ms. Rueanna Haynes, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations.  Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh, Head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit (MEAU), Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources served as the ADP  Co-chair.

Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh , ADP Co-Chair at the ADP 2-6,  October, 2014 

ADP 2-6 focused on the preparation of key documents for the upcoming twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP-20) to the UNFCCC which would take in Lima, Peru in December, 2014. Participants continued to negotiate on elements of the  draft 2015 agreement. In addition,  they worked on a draft decision that captures the type of information countries will need to provide when they communicate their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and how they would be considered at COP-20.

The outcome of technical meetings resulted in a draft decision on the pre-2020 ambition which was issued for consideration at  Lima.  This draft focused on opportunities for action on non carbon greenhouse gases (GHGs); carbon capture, use and storage, mitigation opportunities through energy efficiency, renewable energy, urban environment and land use improvements in the pre-2020 period.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management Project

The Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW) is a four year financing mechanism established in 2011 by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and co-implemented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Component 2 is currently under way in Trinidad and Tobago and proposes to support capacity building activities for wastewater management under a  project entitled “Resource Valuation Study for Wastewater Management” at the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad and the Buccoo Reef / Bon Accord Lagoon Complex in Tobago. This study will be conducted by consultants from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the World   Resource Institute (WRI).

The objectives of the valuation study include:
  •  To determine the ecological and health benefits of improved wastewater management; 
  •  To conduct a cost benefit analysis of different wastewater management options and evaluate their merits to aid in priority setting.

Participants at the 1st  National Workshop for the GEF CReW   Workshop  (Trinidad) including Ms. Gardiner  (front row, right) of  EPPD, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

Implementation of the Project commenced following the establishment of an Ad hoc Committee and the convening of its first meeting in August, 2014 with the project consultants. The Ad hoc Committee comprises suitable representatives from the Environmental Policy and Planning Division, (Ms. Keima Gardiner, Environmental Engineering Specialist), the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA), the Institute of Marine Authority (IMA) and the Ministry of Finance.

As a requirement of the project, two sets of national workshops must be conducted in Trinidad and in Tobago. The first set of national workshops were held with key stakeholders from government and state agencies, the Inter-American Development Bank, NGOs, and academia and were facilitated by the project consultants.

Participants at the 1st National Workshop for the GEF CReW  Workshop  (Tobago)

The workshops were held at the EMA’s, Port of Spain Office on October 17th, 2014 and in Tobago on October 21st, 2014. Members of the Ad hoc Committee and the project consultants also participated in site visits at the respective sites on the days prior to the Workshops. 

The attendees at the Workshops were afforded the opportunity to offer their input on the current management challenges and positive and negative trends at each site, as well as project some positive future scenarios and create a potential outreach strategy for effectively spreading the key outcomes once the validation study is completed.

Improving Forests and Protected Area Management in T&T Project

In October 2014, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources  officially signed on to a project that would be jointly funded with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the European Union (EU) to revise the management of Protected Areas (PAs) in line with the newly adopted National Policies on Forests, Protected Areas and Wildlife. 

The Project has a four year timeline and is earmarked for six test sites, two of which are located in Tobago.  The complete list of project sites are:

  • North East Tobago Marine Protected Area 
  • Main Ridge Forest Reserve 
  • Nariva Swamp 
  • Trinity Hills/Victoria-Mayaro 
  • Caroni Swamp 
  • Matura

While the project is aimed at actualising the concepts of the National Policies for Wildlife and Protected Areas (PAs), it would seek to do so through four technical components:

  1. Improvements to the legal and institutional arrangements for PA management
  2. Improvements to infrastructure for biodiversity conservation and forest restoration 
  3. Development and testing of sustainable financing system
  4. Monitoring and evaluation and information dissemination.

It is anticipated that these strategies of the Project would yield outcomes with tangible benefits such as a Protected Area system that accounts for approximately 214000ha, almost 100000ha of which would be designated as new Protected Areas. 

Additionally, the project would pilot methodologies for a sustainable financing system which would include a revenue generating mechanism for the sites, an organisational structure which promotes and formalises co-management of PAs with stakeholders from the private sector and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and development of personnel capacity and infrastructure for effective management of PAs.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Caribbean Thematic Workshop on Enabling National Conditions for the Adoption of Standards in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector

The United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean  (UNEP ROLAC) hosted the Workshop on Enabling National Conditions for the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Sector during the period  October 14 - 16, 2014 in Panama City, Panama.

The Caribbean Region was represented by delegations from Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was represented at this three (3) day Workshop by Mr. Javed Lakhan,  Environmental Policy Analyst, Environmental Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Environment and  Water Resources.

The meeting focused on the sharing of experiences among Caribbean countries with respect to the formulation and  adoption of National Standards in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector, in the context of the Montreal Protocol and each country’s Hydrochlorofluorocarbon Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP). Other important issues discussed included the drafting and adoption of regional standards in the RAC sector as well as which countries would take the lead in formulation of these regional standards.

Overall the workshop was very productive, in that, it laid the foundation for considerable progress to be made in terms of collaboration between Caribbean and Latin American countries in creating, adapting, adopting and implementing proper standards within the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Introductory Workshop on Industrial Chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention

The Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean) hosted an Introductory Workshop on Industrial Chemicals under the Rotterdam Convention for the Caribbean Sub-region, from the 8th to 10th October, 2014 at the Hilton, in Port-of-Spain.

In attendance were representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Mr. Alex Mangwiro of the Secretariat of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Convention and Dr. Kersten Gutschmidt of the World Health Organisation (WHO) were also in attendance and acted as the facilitators of the Workshop. Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Ms. Keima Gardiner from the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), as well as representatives from the Chemistry Food and Drugs  Division, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs. 
The overarching aim of the workshop was to utilize a range of activities to aid in increasing awareness of the  Rotterdam Convention, as well as develop and/or strengthen the national framework for the sound management of industrial chemicals.
The Workshop comprised of several technical presentations in the morning period, followed by simulation exercises in the afternoon based on the presentations which included: stakeholder identification and import responses for industrial chemicals, risk assessment, and development of a country strategy for the management of a specific chemical using the Rotterdam Convention Resource Toolkit. The Workshop served as a useful platform for networking with the key stakeholders  involved in the management of  industrial chemicals in the country.


Group shot of all the participants at the Workshop including Ms. Gardiner, EPPD, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (front row, 3rd from the right)