PRESIDENT of Environment Tobago Bertrand Bhikarry says taking action now is critical to ensuring the lives of future generations are not negatively affected. He was speaking at the inaugural Tobago Environment Partnership two-day conference on Monday at the Mt Irvine Resort. The conference was themed, “The environment and sustainable livelihoods.”
The consultation, hosted by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE) in collaboration with two reputable NGOs – Environment Tobago and the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville, aimed to bring influential people together to present and discuss a range of environmental issues.
Addressing members from various sectors, Bhikarry said there needs to be involvement all-around.
“This conference is about giving everybody what everybody wants, which is a livelihood that does not take away or impact the livelihood of others or the quality of life of others no matter when they walk on Tobago soil, as in one or 51 years from now,” he said.
While the discussions focussed on Tobago, it was framed within the national policy context.
“The conference is intended to build or deepen partnership among stakeholders for addressing environmental issues that impact the island’s ecology and socio-economic well-being as well as initiate the process towards improving the administrative and policy context through which management of the environmental and natural resources are delivered.
“This conference also hopes to provide an opening for a newish breed of economic opportunity, some people call it the triple bottom line, that’s the one where everybody benefits – the economists, the developers, the State. The keyword at the bottom-line development is sustainability, but this conference is about that.”
The objectives of the conference, according to Bhikarry, included:
• Providing a forum that fosters multi-sectoral partnership for action on issue of local concern including but not limited to climate change, environmental and natural resources conservation and waste management.
• Identifying and characterising Tobago’s environmental priorities for inclusion in the framework for updating the Tobago Environmental Management Plan.
• Facilitating the development of a framework for the implementation of actions to support improved protected areas management and conservation.
• Developing and issuing a summit declaration which reflects the commitment of the THA, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders to work collaboratively to strengthen Tobago’s environmental performance.