At the 51st Council Environment Tobago as part of the GEF-CSO Network was asked to open the discussion on opportunities and visions for new GEF strategies on International Waters. The Caribbean perspective is not unique but water is a common link that binds our biodiversity, our economies and thus our very way of life. If International Waters were to ever require a poster child, the Caribbean would more than likely be the front runner.
Environment Tobago is the Caribbean civil society focal point for the GEF-CSO Network. The position (unpaid) requires that ET coordinate GEF activities at regional level and facilitate input from the region into (GEF) policy. Three years into this arrangement ET now has a clearer picture as regards GEF-CSO Network collaboration. We are also in a better able to comment on the relationship between the GEF and general global civil society. The historical record of the GEF to CSO 'marriage' is chequered when its constant internal wranglings are taken into account. Then again, given the scale of what the initiative intends and covers, conflict such as would have occurred is a clear sign that the democratic underpinning of the exercise is alive.
At this stage of writing - six weeks before the 53rd Council the general feeling among the Network is the GEF, while recognizing the value of their contribution, feels pressure with providing 'support'. That is; financing CSO attendance at meetings, footing the bill for assorted capacity building exercises that could in fact lead to enhanced CSO participation in the GEF mission. The draft document which will inform Council in November re: “enhanced cso invilvement” will probably be reworded but not substantially it seems. As the situation stands now, GEF asserts it is in a bind and that Civil the Society Network should take steps to bear more of its own costs. The Network on the other hand believes the work of the GEF - and the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals devolves heavily on community. Perhaps the Network might want to rebrand themselves as such if both parties are to stand any chance of mitigating stress to the environment.
The hunting season has reopened once more and the usual commentary has re- surfaced. Facebook opinions aside there are two distinct views as concerns slaughter wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago. On the one side there are the conservationists and on the other are the hunters. Neither has conceded to being wrong. As a long suffering steward of nature Environment Tobago by default is pro-conservation but we at ET are not unaware of the reasons people hunt – and would encourage discussion on the topic.
The “Ridge to Reef Education program (RREP) for Secondary Schools”, is a project designed to expose select 13-18 year old students from Tobago's secondary schools, to see, learn and experience local ecosystems of economic and cultural value. Specifically, the project targets the key coral reef system - Buccoo, the invaluable wetlands of Petit Trou and Buccoo and the Main Ridge Rainforest located in the region above Roxborough.
Beginning period April 2017 to March 2020 Environment Tobago will work with the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, United Way Trinidad and Tobago (UWTT), University of the West Indies-Institute for Gender and Development Studies (UWI-IGDS), Veni Apwann (VA) and the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD).
The project is aimed at catalysing Trinidad and Tobago into a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, inclusive, accountable and resilient model of development and governance, by effective harnessing the potential of civil society organisations (CSOs) to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The EMA is currently planning to conduct a survey to collect data on wastes generated and their management for the period January 1st 2013 to December 31st 2015. The title of the study is “An Inventory of Wastes Generated in Trinidad and Tobago from 2013 to 2015”. The data will be used to inform the development of legislation and policies by the EMA to manage wastes.
The EMA previously collected data on hazardous waste generation and management through national inventories conducted for year 2003 and the period 2004-2008 to meet its reporting obligations under the Basel Convention. This survey will focus on both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.
The proposed period to execute the survey is during the last week of April.
Preparation of the 5th report to the Convention on Biological Diversity and Revision of the National Biodiversity, Strategy and Action Plan meeting at Blenheim Sheep Demonstration facility in Mt St George.
Second training workshop on climate change under the Climate ACTT project