Friday, 23 September 2016 13:20

Trinidad and Tobago Tackles Climate Change With EU Support

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September 23, 2016: Trinidad and Tobago, as a small island developing state, is vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, susceptible to natural disasters and extreme climate conditions including hurricanes, drought, excessive rain, flooding and higher temperatures.

In the aftermath of the Paris Agreement and T&T commitments under the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC's) the European Union (EU) is working with Trinidad and Tobago, through a €8 million grant to the Government, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. It was in that context that the EU, in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Tobago House of Assembly, initiated a two-year technical assistance programme designed to assess Trinidad and Tobago's climate change vulnerabilities and help the country to prepare and become more resilient to its negative impacts.

The technical assistance programme will be spearheaded by a consortium contracted by the EU, Particip GmbH. It will include vulnerability assessments of a range of key sectors such as, agriculture, water resources, human health, coastal resources, human settlements and infrastructure and biodiversity in order to pinpoint areas/sectors of concern. This data will then be used to inform decision-making about climate change and the 5-year INDC plans, and to allow for better management and holistic mainstreaming of climate change risks across those sectors.

In addition, a demarcation of the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago, the country's largest and most important carbon sink will be conducted. Such a demarcation is critical for the protection of this green space, which is so vital to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, local environmental experts in the public and private sectors, including civil society organizations will benefit from enhancement of their knowledge and skill to carry out future risk, vulnerability and capacity assessments through a programme of training and capacity building.

This technical assistance programme places Trinidad and Tobago one step closer to a robust National Climate Plan, which would include T&T's own ratification of the Paris Agreement and the development of a strong policy and legislative framework to reduce greenhouse emissions, setting this country on a low carbon development path for its own future preservation.

Trinidad and Tobago's commitment to combat climate change has been strongly reinforced by the Minister of Planning and Development, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis. Speaking on the occasion of UNDP's National Dialogue on Climate Resilience at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in June, she stated: "The pursuit of climate-resilient development requires coordination and harmonisation of policy across all government sectors, given the cross-cutting nature of climate change itself. To this end, an analysis of the sectoral policy and legislative landscape has been undertaken with the identification of gaps and recommendations for addressing these gaps. Implementation of these recommendations will result in an alignment of climate-resilient development across all sectors. It is therefore expected that the amendment or development of policies and legislation will begin soon to realise this important first step."

Preventing the damaging effects of climate change is a key priority for the EU. For this reason, Europe is working tirelessly to not only develop the laws of the region to reach the ambitious targets it set for 2030 and ratify the Paris Agreement, but also to assist other nations and regions around the world to do likewise, particularly vulnerable countries like Trinidad and Tobago.

- Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago


Photo: Technical Assistance Project Team (from left): Mr Olusengun Ajene, Surveyor Expert; Ms Judi Clarke, Vulnerability Expert; Ms Natasha-Helena Zoric Programme Officer, EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago; Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh, Head, Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit, Ministry of Planning and Development and Mr George de Berdt Romilly, Team Leader.


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