Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Global Workshop on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Delivering Climate Action and Sustainable Development

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme hosted the Global Workshop on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Delivering Climate Action and Sustainable Development which was held in Brussels, Belgium during the period 13-14 June, 2016. 

Trinidad and Tobago was represented at the Global Workshop  by Mrs. Beverly Khan, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Development and Mr. Javed Lakhan, Environmental Policy Analyst, Environmental Policy and Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Development.

DPS Khan at the head table (second from the left) participating as a panelist on one of the discussions at the Workshop

The two (2) day Workshop focused on collaborating with participants to: 
  • formulate a framework for comprehensive NDC implementation;
  • sharing of experiences between countries with  respect to planning and implementing          activities to achieve goals set out under NDCs; 
  • discussing technical and institutional issues related to implementation and how to address them and; 
  • elaborate on the ways NDCs could not only deliver on countries’ commitments to the Paris      Agreement but also be a driving factor toward meeting the global Sustainable Development       Goals (SDGs).

The meeting proved very fruitful, facilitated the conceptualisation of some concrete first steps to drive achievement of NDC goals in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the first steps identified included increasing public awareness and seeking to create high level political champions within various ministries to ensure that climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emission components are considered at all levels of country planning.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Nariva Swamp and Coastal Zone Pilot Protected Area Sub-Committee's Second Site Visit

On Friday 10th June 2016, the Nariva Swamp and Coastal Zone Pilot Protected Area (PPA) Sub-Committee, made a second site visit  to the PPA.  This site visit involved:

Wildlife Watch Team in Mazanilla

Orientation of field trip participants to the pilot protected area at Manzanilla Beach
At the first stop in Manzanilla, the team met with members of the Wildlife Watch team. The Sub-Committee was apprised on the dwindling numbers of leatherback turtles that come ashore to nest due heavy poaching and that due to recent conservation efforts as well as turtle patrols at Matura and other beaches in the North has resulted in their return. Nevertheless, it was noted that the lack of protection of the Mazanilla Beach means that poaching can continue.


Manatee Research Station and Incoming Tour Operators Association

The Manatee Research Station is managed by the Manatee Conservation Trust, a local environmental non-governmental organization (NGO). The organisation work to conserve the manatee population at Nariva, specifically the "Big Pond" area. Monitoring is being undertaken to derive present estimates the population.

Representative of the Manatee Conservation Trust shares information on the group
The Trust was also involved in the Blue and Gold Macaw reintroducton project spearheaded by  the NGO;the Centre for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad and Tobago (CRESTT) and the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries. As result of conservation efforts, increased numbers of macaw have been observed. However, poaching of macaws as a caged pet have also increased. The Trust emphasised the need for greater and continuous public education on the value of conservation and protected areas.

The Sub-Committee also headed south to Kernahan Village briefly stopping off at the 'Boatline', the main starting point forboat tours into Nariva Swamp organised by the Incoming Tour Operators Association. It was not clear whether local boatmen access clients directly or their capacity to provide them with ecological information on the Swamp.

Agricultural Development

It was observed en route Kernahan Village, roadside stalls selling watermelons, a staple crop in the area. A team of Agricultural Extension officers gave the Sub-Committee a description of the type of farming that occurs in Kernahan and specific challenges. These challenges include the issue of agricultural leases issued to areas south of the border of the proposed pilot protected area, agricultural squatting, unregulated use of pesticide cocktails entering waterways and  fire setting to name a few. These have implications for the integrity of the pilot protected area.

Land preparation for agriculture on the outskirts of Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary


Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary

The Sub-Committee had the opportunity to visit Bush Bush which was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1968. They observed several flora and fauna distinctive of to the Sanctuary such as Cocorite Palm, blossoms of a Cannonball Tree, a small snake and an iguana. Continued conservation of this area will provide opportunities to let the average person see these aspects of nature.
Cannonball tree blooms

A view across the Nariva Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA)

  At the conclusion of the site visit, the Sub-Committee reflected on the value of the supporting contributions of key stakeholders and the first hand sight of  the existing management issues in the pilot protected area. With this information in hand, the Sub-Committee looks forward to continued progress in developing a management plan appropriate for this unique site.