Monday, 28 September 2015

Pilot Protected Area Member wins Tourism Service Business Excellence Award!

Nature Seekers, Co-Chair of the Matura Forest and coastal zone pilot protected area subcommittee, has been awarded the Tourism Service Business Excellence Award from the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association for 2015.  

The organisation won this prestigious award last year.  The award is given to recognise and celebrate outstanding performance in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry in Trinidad and Tobago. The Improving Forest and Protected Area Management (IFPAM) Project will build on experiences and lessons learned from key stakeholders like Nature Seekers to improve livelihoods of stakeholders who earn their living from forest and protected areas.  Congratulations to Nature Seekers!!!

Monday, 21 September 2015

ICC 2015!

Annually, the 3rd Saturday in September, volunteers around the world remove millions of pounds of discarded material and debris from oceans and waterways as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Trinidad is no exception as on September 19th, 2015 volunteers rendered their time and efforts for ICC, 2015.
The Ministry of Planning and Development is the major sponsor of the local chapter of the ICC. Thus, the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) of the Ministry continued its involvement with the cleanup and data collection exercise hosted by the Ocean Conservancy by assisting in the cleanup of the Chagville Beach in Chaguaramas. Chagville Beach was one of the 17 beaches that was cleaned across the country in this exercise. 
Staff of the EPPD joined Plastikeep and other volunteers and concerned citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in ICC 2015 cleanup efforts. Within their groups of 4, participants enthusiastically collected plastic and glass bottles, food wrappers, bottle caps, tyres, dead animal carcasses and other debris both natural and anthropogenic. By the end of the cleanup exercise several bags of debris were collected.
This initiative provides substantive evidence of the need for us to heighten our environmental awareness and alter our behaviour, in the hope that in the future less debris will be collected from our coastal sites.

Snapshots of from ICC 2015

Friday, 18 September 2015

Inception Meeting on the Sustainable Management Mechanism for POPs in the Caribbean Project

The Project Inception Technical Meeting for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded full-sized project 'Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Caribbean' took place from the 15th to 17th September, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

It was hosted by the regional project executing agency, the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer (BCRC-Caribbean) in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the GEF Project Implementing Agency.

Representatives from the 8 participating project countries across the region were in attendance alongside local attendees from key government ministries and agencies. Ms. Keima Gardiner, Environmental Engineering Specialist represented the Environmental Policy and Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Development at the meeting. There was also representation and presentations from the CARICOM Secretariat, the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) Group of States/Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) Unit as well as the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariat and the GEF.

At the Project Inception Technical Meeting, the critical elements of the project were discussed, inclusive of project component elements, execution schedules, the proposed organisational structure, division of finances, implementation timelines, monitoring, evaluation, auditing and the other facets of the project management system. The key actors in the project were also identified.

Participants at the meeting including Ms. Gardiner, Ministry of Planning and Development (front row, centre) and    Dr. Ahmad Khan, Director, BCRC-Caribbean (front row, first on the right)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

World Ozone Day 2015!

In 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed  September 16th the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

On this day, countries promote activities in accordance with the objectives of the Protocol, i.e. the phasing-out of ozone depleting substances that help preserve the Ozone Layer as well as protecting human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Thus the theme for World Ozone Day is  “30 years of healing the ozone together.” The theme is supported by the slogan, “Ozone: All there is between you and UV.”  

In commemoration of the Day, on September 16th, 2015 the National Ozone Unit invited the company LOOK Opticians to facilitate an awareness session with the staff of the Environmental Policy and Planning Division and the former Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.
Dr Marissa Gowrie (left) National Ozone Officer introducing the facilitators from LOOK Opticians (right)  to the staff

Free Vision Screening after the awareness session.

Ozone Layer Depletion causes greater exposure to ultra-violet (UV) rays from the sun which can cause several ailments including eye conditions such as eye cataract. Therefore, attendees were sensitised about the harmful effects of UV on the human eyes and ways in which we can protect them.  LOOK Opticians also provided free vision screening and advice for interested persons on the day.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Over 30 organizations engaged in planning to improve PA management

To date, three (3) additional Subcommittees under the Improving Forest and Protected Area Management (IFPAM) Project have been launched subsequent to the launch of the Trinity Hills and eastern extension Subcommittee which occurred on August 24, 2015. 

Subcommittees have been launched for the pilot areas of Caroni Swamp, Nariva Swamp and coastal zone and the Matura Forest and coastal zone.  To date over thirty (30) governmental and civil society organisations are engaging in formulating plans to improve protected area (PA) management in the pilot PA sites.   The Subcommittees are hard at work defining the management objectives for each pilot PA within the scope of the IFPAM project and identifying actions to contribute to improving management.

  Through facilitated sessions by the Project Coordinating Unit, at Subcommittee meetings, individual work plans for each PA will be formulated using the actions identified by the Subcommittee. The work plans for the first year of the Subcommittees of the six pilot PAs will be merged along with other actions and presented as the project work plan for the first year at national inception workshops later in this year. 

The first meeting of the Matura Forest and coastal zone Subcommittee on 3rd September members highlighted the importance of the inclusion of actions to contribute to the sustainable development of livelihoods in the plans for the PA.  

Members of the Nariva Subcommittee listening to a discussion of threats to the PA at their first meeting on 2nd September at Forestry Division’s Kernahan Field Station
At the first meeting of the Caroni Swamp Subcommittee on 27th August, 10 organizations were represented