Wednesday 18 September, 2019

T&T, Barbados, St Lucia to receive $21M to treat with toxic waste

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Global Environment Facility (GEF) will be allocating US $21 million to fund the planning and implementation of the Caribbean activities to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and wastes.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Planning and Development said the allocation will be made available through a programme entitled ‘Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island States (ISLANDS)’, which includes the collection of baseline information and the identification of country needs in an effort to prevent the build-up of Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury and other harmful chemicals.

In this regard, the executing agency for the Caribbean region, BCRC-Caribbean hosted a two-day Regional Inception Meeting for the GEF funded Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) on August  27-28, 2019 at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre.

This meeting included environmental agencies and technical officers in the environmental field from Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Suriname.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Ms Joanne Deoraj in her feature address at this meeting said, “the tangible benefits to be realised from this Programme cannot be understated, as it has been specifically adapted to the circumstances of the twenty-seven (27) Small Island Developing States SIDS, and thus the expected transformation in the current chemicals and waste management paradigm will contribute greatly to the benefit of the national territories and by extension the global community.”

In his address, Dr Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, emphasized that while “Chemicals and waste issues have been underplayed in the environmental agenda in the past, times are changing fast.”

Dr Payet also underscored that, “sustainable management of chemicals and waste is now seen as a fundamental cornerstone of the objectives in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” 

The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are highlighted as the key legally binding instruments whose implementation contributes towards achieving all the goals of the 2030 agenda. 

On August 26, 2019 during a courtesy call from Dr Payet, the Ministry of Planning and Development received the Framework Agreement to extend Trinidad and Tobago’s hosting of the Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean). The Centre will continue to be hosted by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT).

The BCRC-Caribbean will continue to serve as a resource for technical guidance and will work with the GoRTT to strengthen the waste management capacity of the country by encouraging key stakeholders and the public to join efforts in transforming towards sustainable consumption practices through development of a circular economy.

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