TT is ahead of most countries in many of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said yesterday.
Robinson-Regis made the comments at the Third High Level Meeting on the Country Implementation Plan (CIP) for TT held at the International Waterfront Complex, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.
Robinson-Regis brought remarks as well as new UN Resident Co-ordinator to TT Marina Walter and Joanne Deoraj, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development.
The SDGs “are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” There are 17 of them and they are also known as the Global Goals.
Asked about TT’s progress in the SDGs, Robinson-Regis said, “As the resident co-ordinator said we are at mid-level in terms of development and we have done very well in terms of achieving the goals set by the UN...”
The goals include no poverty, gender equality, climate action and good health and well-being.
She added that Government’s Vision 2030 plan also known as The National Development Strategy has environment at the centre of social and economic development and it “has ensured that that is in fact occurring.” Development, she added, was not only physical but also the development of TT’s human resources.
To ensure the achievement of the SGD’s, TT has been working with the UN and NGOs to ensure that it is on the “correct path.”
“The information that has been coming from the UN is that we have been working assiduously on it and we have been making the strides that are necessary,” she said.
Asked about the hindrances to the furtherance of the SDGs, Robinson-Regis said one was the involvement of the population.
She said the population was not fully aware of what are the SGDs. “Therefore, it is our responsibility after we have this meeting to ensure that there is a campaign in relation to what the SGDs are and what the population can do.
“What every man and woman can do to ensure that we can achieve these SGDs becomes a campaign and becomes a nationwide involvement.”
Robinson-Regis also highlighted TT’s fight against non-communicable diseases as another hindrance in the achievement of the SDGs. Robinson-Regis said health is very important, women’s issues are very important and “certainly TT has been moving very specifically in terms of those kinds of issues.”
Last year, TT ratified the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change which deals with greenhouse gas emissions and its reduction. To date, 185 countries have ratified the convention.
Asked about TT’s progress on the issue of climate change, Robinson-Regis said TT had been one of the leaders as it relates to the climate change agenda.
“We have been working with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in terms of coastal protection. And of course the Ministry of Works and Transport as that is their remit.”
In March the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly will take place in Nairobi, Kenya from 11 to 15. Robinson-Regis said TT would have a delegation there led by her.
She said TT had climate change at the forefront of its agenda. “We recognise that for small-island developing states there are specific issues as it relates to sea level rise but TT has been taking cognizance of that.”
She said TT had been in process of reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) in the environment. HFCs are organic compounds composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. HFCs are produced synthetically and are used primarily as refrigerants. The Ministry of Planning and Development, she added, have been training people to ensure that they understood how to reduce the release of refrigerants into the atmosphere.
“Even with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) there is the iCare programme so we are working with that. That programme deals with the recycling of plastics and metals and we are now also doing a programme that deals with how we dispose of tyres.”