Friday, 29 April 2016

Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in Countries in the Caribbean Region: Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop

On April 28th, 2016 at the Trinidad Hilton & Conference Centre, local stakeholders (UTT, UWI, Ministry of Legal Affairs, EMA, Ministry of Planning and Development and others) gathered together at the "Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries in the Caribbean Region" Project - Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop.

In order to support countries of the Caribbean to capitalise on opportunities to make the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS Protocol) operational in their national jurisdictions, the UNEP in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has developed a  Caribbean Regional Project entitled "Advancing the Nagoya Protocol in countries of the Caribbean Region".  
This 3 year Project is to be implemented in 8 CARICOM countries including Trinidad and Tobago with grant funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and is being executed by the IUCN Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (ORMACC). 

Matters discussed at the Workshop included:
  • ABS and the Nagoya Protocol;
  • ABS in the Caribbean Region;
  • The IUCN ABS Caribbean Project;
  • The Project Work Plan for Trinidad and Tobago;
  •  The role of National Agencies in Project Implementation 

>> For more information on the Project and the Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop visit the Nagoya Protocol Regional Project Page.

    Dr. David Persaud addresses attendees at the Trinidad and Tobago National Workshop on April 28th, 2016.

    Wednesday, 20 April 2016

    Expansion of the Green Government Policy in the MPD

    The Green Government Policy was approved by Cabinet in 2011 and seeks to minimize the adverse effects of Government’s operations on the environment by promoting efficient resource use, pollution prevention and facilitating cost effectiveness of Government operations by reducing energy use, waste and consumables. 

    Since its re-launch in 2014 by the EPPD Green Committee, implementation has been steadily progressing on Level 26 of Tower D, International Waterfront Complex (IWC), Port of Spain (POS). Based on the success achieved and knowledge acquired thus far, the Ministerial re-alignment presented itself as an opportune time to expand implementation of the Policy to the other arms of the Ministry of Planning and Development. 

    This has been occurring through a phased approach: 

    Phase I was initiated following a meeting convened by the EPPD on January 28th, 2016 with representatives from the European Development Fund (EDF), Town and Country Planning Division (TCPD), the Green Fund Executing Unit, the Communications Unit and the Human Resources Department. These representatives were apprised of the Green Government Policy, the progress and challenges encountered during its implementation by the EPPD, and the recommended next steps to enable seamless Policy operationalization at their respective locations.  

    Phase II of the expansion took place subsequent to this meeting. It involved presentations led by Ms. Keima Gardiner, Environmental Engineering Specialist (Environmental Policy and Planning Division) delivered at the individual departments upon the request of their representative. These presentations took place on:
    • February 4th, 2016 - Human Resources, Henry Street, POS
    • February 18th, 2016 - Town and Country Planning (TCPD, Level 17), EWFC
    • February 19th, 2018 - EDF, Technical Corporations Unit, IT, Registry and the Advisory Town Planning Panel
    • February 24th, 2016 - TCPD on  Level 13,Ground Floor and the Basement, and the Communications and Library Unit at the EWFC
    • March 10th, 2016 -  Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) in Nicholas Towers
    • March 11th, 2016 -  Ministerial Floor and General Administration situated on Level 14, EWFC


    EDF , TCU Green Government Policy briefing session on February 19th, 2016.

    TCPD , Communications and Library, Level 13  Green Government Policy briefing session on February 24th, 2016.

    EDAB  Green  Government Policy briefing session on March 10th, 2016.

    EWRC and TCPD (Level 17), TCU Green  Government Policy briefing session on February 18th, 2016.
    HR , Henry Street Green Government Policy briefing session on February 4th, 2016.

    Minister and Operations, Level 14 Green Government Policy briefing session on March 11th, 2016.

    Monday, 18 April 2016

    Public Awareness Campaign for the NIP begins!

    In fulfillment of the obligations under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), in 2013 the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD), through funding from the United Nations Development Programme, completed and submitted Trinidad and Tobago’s National Implementation Plan (NIP). The NIP is a five (5) year road map that identifies mechanisms to measure, manage, reduce or eliminate the threat of POPs in the country.

    A critical component of the NIP is the roll out of a public awareness campaign, with the aim of sensitizing the nation on the adverse effects of POPs, the mechanisms to reduce their exposure to such toxins, and to provide information on the recommended activities outlined in NIP.  As such, a limited but comprehensive public awareness campaign has been developed to target policy makers, the industrial sector and the general public. 

    The main elements of the public awareness package include:
    • Distribution of the NIP (hard copy and electronically).
    • Dissemination of informational material including brochures, flip cards,and posters.
    • Publication of articles on POPs in industry magazines and newsletters such as the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce's (TTCIC) "Contact" Magazine and the Energy Chamber's "Energy Now" Newsletter.
    • Publicizing of a 45 second advertisment on POPs on local TV stations and MovieTowne, Port of Spain and Caribbean Cinemas Southpark and on various social media platforms.
    • Showcasing of information on POPs and the NIP on the EPPD's Blogspot: 
    Promotional material will be distributed to key actors in the waste and chemicals field, schools across the nation as part of an education campaign and the general public during the EPPD's public awareness. 

    Be on the look out for information like the promotional material below, on 'what are' and 'how to protect yourself and the environment against' POPs!

    Monday, 11 April 2016

    Forging Forward: IFPAM Sub-Committees start work in pilot PAs

    To date, the Improving Forest and Protected Area Management in Trinidad and Tobago”, (IFPAM) pilot protected area (PPA) sub-committees have formulated work plans for the 6 pilot sites under the IFPAM Project and have commenced implementation of their plans.  Three of the subcommittees have executed site visits to verify literature reviews on the ground and to improve their contextual understanding of management issues in their PPA so that they can formulate recommendations on the boundaries and level of protection required for their PPA.

    These site visits occurred on: 
    • March 4th, 2016: The Nariva PPA sub-committee gathered information on land use, hydrology, ecology, and threats on their site visit 
    • March 11th, 2016: The Trinity Hills and eastern extension PPA sub-committee analysed issues concerning habitat fragmentation and edge effects; location of existing eastern boundary, and proposals for a new eastern boundary; challenges with coordinating monitoring efforts among multiple entities with responsibility for management; and improving the approach to the management of hunting of wildlife on their site visit
    • March 18th, 2016: The Caroni Swamp PPA sub-committee explored issues on supporting sustainable  livelihoods at the pilot site.

    The remaining PPA sub-committees have chosen other activities to start work on in their PPA.  The Matura PPA sub-committee is currently engaged in drafting a communication plan for the PPA.  This initiative, lead by the  Environmental Management Authority, includes a Knowledge, Attitude and Perception Survey of the 15 communities surrounding the PPA and the participatory development of a three-dimensional model of the PPA with the residents of the 15 communities.  The PPA sub-committee which manages the two PPAs in Tobago have focused their attention on coordinating research in the PPAs.

    Site Visit by Subcommittee for Trinity Hills PPA on March 11th, 2016

    Site Visit by Subcommittee for Caroni Swamp PPA on March 18th, 2016

    Site Visit by Subcommittee for Nariva Swamp  on March 11th, 2016.

     Other outputs to be produced in the 1st year of the IFPAM Project are:

    • National PA system plan
    • Training of PA managers on interpretation and trail design
    • A roadmap towards the preparation of Protected Areas Management Plans for the 6 pilot protected areas
    • Work plan for the preparation of protected areas management plans for the 6 PPAs
    • Plans for establishing the National Biodiversity Information System (NBIS)
    • Baseline inventory, training and protocols for an ecological research and monitoring programme 
    • A visibility strategy for the Project including a public education and awareness programme