Thursday 17 October, 2019

New programme to combat coastal erosion, flooding

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan delivered the feature address at the launch of the Comprehensive National Coastal Monitoring Programme (CNCMP) at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Photo courtesy the CPU.

Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan delivered the feature address at the launch of the Comprehensive National Coastal Monitoring Programme (CNCMP) at Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Photo courtesy the CPU.

Government has pledged its commitment to combatting coastal erosion and coastal flooding with the launch of a new programme aimed at mapping a sustainable solution to the problem.

The Comprehensive National Coastal Monitoring Programme (CNCMP) was launched at an event at the Hyatt Regency on May 24 hosted by the Works and Transport Ministry’s Coastal Protection Unit (CPU).

The CPU, in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) and the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment (DIQE), embarked on the programme to support the monitoring of the state of Trinidad and Tobago’s coastal areas and to serve as a central repository for coastal data.

Phase 1 of the project started in January to establish a framework for the successful implementation of the programme.

Delivering the feature address at the launch, Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said that with more evidence-based data, “…engineers, scientists and other decision makers who work in the area of coastal protection will be able to move ahead and make more insightful and informed decisions on the future of our coastal regions around Trinidad and Tobago.”

The CNCMP is expected to promote the adoption of environmentally and economically sustainable solutions to preserve and protect the coast.

The inaugural CNCMP event also featured a welcome by CPU Director Candice Gray-Bernard, and remarks by IMA Director Dr. Ahmad Khan, Secretary of the THA, DIQE Councillor Kwesi Des Vignes, and closing remarks from CNCMP consultant, Nazeer Gopaul of Coastal Dynamics Limited.

Highlights of the event included the signing of a letter of intent between the MOWT and CNCMP project partners, the IMA and DIQE, as well as the opening of a CNCMP coastal erosion and coastal flooding photo exhibition.

During the 20-month implementation of Phase 1 of the CNCMP, a National Coastal Assessment (NCA) will be conducted to obtain a rapid overview of the current coastal situation in Trinidad and Tobago including the identification of shortcomings and gaps in information.

The foundation of the NCA will be built on existing coastal information and data held within governmental agencies and other entities such as the Planning and Development Ministry, the IMA and DIQE.

Coastal communities and other key stakeholders will be engaged to gain an understanding of the value of the coast and perceptions and understandings of coastal erosion, coastal flooding and climate change to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

The CPU has launched the ‘Have Your Say’ campaign to allow citizens to have their voices heard by visiting the Works Ministry’s website to either register to participate in the CNCMP community engagement and consultation activities or to share their thoughts and experiences via the CNCMP Coastal Social Survey.

Citizens can also join in the movement to preserve and protect the coasts by posting photo and/or video content of coastal hazards such as fallen trees, land slippage, cliff failure, retreating shorelines, threats to coastal infrastructure and assets, and coastal erosion and coastal flooding on social media using the hashtag #CoastalWatchTT.

Those who wish to learn more about coastal erosion may do so via the MOWT’s #CoastalErosionFacts social media posts.

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