THE first Tobago environmental partnership declaration has been drafted and was publicly endorsed on Wednesday at the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment in Shaw Park. The declaration represents the collective vision of environmental stakeholders across the island and comes as a result of strengthened relationships after this year’s inaugural Tobago environmental partnership conference in May.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Director of the THA environment department, Linford Beckles said the declaration is one of the most important outcomes of the May conference, adding that it represents the commitment of civil society, the private sector and others to work collaboratively to improve the environment and conserve resources.
"While we are now having the signing ceremony, it doesn't necessarily mean that we are only now going to begin working together.
"We have been working together over the years in a few initiatives but I think what we are going to do now is intensifying a lot of the efforts, so that we can all improve the environment performance for all of us in Tobago, for the benefit of the current and for the future generations," Beckles said.
Director/CEO of Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), Aljoscha Wothke lauded the partnership.
"This declaration is something that I have not seen on any of the islands that I've worked before," Wothke said.
The division's secretary Kwesi Des Vignes said he gave a commitment in May and was present to put his signature, as his division was beyond the talk shops and about action now.
"This signing ceremony is about a distinct recognition that the government, the Central Government or anyone for that matter cannot tackle the challenge of climate change, rising sea levels, and the list goes on... alone," Des Vignes said.
German Ambassador to TT Ute König said she was honoured to be present and see the outcome of the conference. She noted that the fight against climate change, which she described as an international challenge, is so that it cannot be done by a single party.
"Germany is willing to commit further funds to the international fight for climate change," she pledged.
THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles described the signing as a noteworthy undertaking.
"It is an indication that individuals and non governmental organisations are willing to come together for the greater good; in this case the preservation of the natural heritage of Tobago," he said.
Four copies of the declaration were then signed.