CARICOM Secretariat Therese Yarde called on stakeholders to fully engage in consultation to ensure the development of a more environmentally resilient Caribbean Community.
Yarde said this during her welcoming remarks today at the National Consultation on the Caribbean Community Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Framework, held at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port-of-Spain, St Ann’s.
“Broad-based consultation, involving key government sectors, the private sector and civil society are imperative as the policy will impact both economies and societies. The framework will work toward strengthening this region’s response toward environmental issues especially those of sustainable development and our natural resources.”
She said it is part of the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019 initiative which aims to develop economic, social, environmental and technological resilience among the Caribbean Community.
“The development of the Policy framework and the associated First Action Plan comes at a critical time, as the region seeks to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will provide a regional blue print to address in particular certain aspects of the UN’s Agenda.”
She urged all participants to make full use of the opportunity to engage in frank and meaningful discussions on issues that will impact the quality of life of the region’s citizens and their future.
Yarde said the varied perspectives of the public sector and private sector will aid in the success of the framework.
“It will guide the CARICOM’S approach to many issues, particularly sustainable development of the region’s natural resources which at current is foundational to our economies.”
She praised the regions involvement in the Paris Agreement negotiations as well as participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Yarde said the region is also involved in a preparatory process to develop a new instrument under the Law of the Sea, on Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
She stated that the region has come a long way since 2008 when the Ministers of Environment first called for this Policy Framework to be developed.
Meanwhile, Deputy Permanent Secretary Marie Hinds extended congratulations to CARICOM for its strong advocacy role in the promotion of a regional approach to the sustainable management of the environmental and natural resources of the Community and its Member States.
Hinds said the conservation of TT’s natural resources, which includes clean water, food, fresh air, shelter, and livelihoods are critical to the country’s future development.
“Trinidad and Tobago’s natural resource base has allowed for our rapid industrialisation and growing demand for goods and services over the years. Simultaneously, however, the nation also suffers from the attendant environmental problems associated with the production of commodities.” She continued, “As such, this Government is committed to making every effort to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago find the right balance between economic development and environmental protection.”
She said the government reorganises the critical role the countries’ “rich” natural resources play in the socio-economic development of the nation.
Hinds said it is her hope the two-day consultation will be fruitful with robust and focused discussions.
“It is my desire that this will help concretise a regional approach to the sustainable management of the environmental and natural resources of the Community and its Member States.”