National Council for Sustainable Development holds first meeting

The National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), tasked with implementing the country’s National Environmental Policy, has held its first meeting. 

In a statement, the Ministry of Planning and Development said Minister Pennelope Beckles, has expressed her support for the NCSD in ensuring enhanced and holistic environmental management and health of the nation’s citizens and residents. 

Beckles was present at the Council’s first meeting which was held on January 17, 2023. 

The Ministry said the Council is the first of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago and is one of the critical success factors of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2018 National Environmental Policy (NEP). 

The NCSD is focused on the execution of the National Environmental Policy through the following priority areas, of which working groups have been developing implementation plans:

  • Protecting Environmental and Human Health through Pollution Control: NEP Thematic Area 2.04- Solid and Hazardous Waste.
  • Sustainably Managing Natural Assets: NEP Thematic Area 2.09- Coastal Area and Marine Management and Agriculture Management.
  • Improving the Local Environment: NEP Thematic Area 2.13- Planning and Human Settlements.
  • Evolving a Greener Economy: NEP Thematic Area 2.18- Economic Transformation.
  • Fostering an Environmentally Responsible Society: NEP Thematic Area 2.19- Availability and Public Access to Information.
  • Addressing Climate Change and Environmental and Natural Disasters: NEP Thematic Area 2.23- Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

Minister Beckles urged the members of the Council to keep in mind the needs of citizens while ensuring that the work being done is meaningful and beneficial to everyone, including the man on the street. 

Minister Beckles also highlighted the value of decisions made at the last United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, COP27, of which Trinidad and Tobago was a part, regarding loss and damage, climate financing, small island developing states and the need for climate change mitigation in national development strategies.

According to Hayden Romano, Chair of the NCSD and Managing Director of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), “The National Council for Sustainable Development is charged with overseeing the implementation of the National Environmental Policy, 2018 in Trinidad and Tobago.  In accordance with section 31 of the Environmental Management Act Chapter 35:05, all government Ministries and agencies shall be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy, 2018.”

The EMA is responsible for providing technical and administrative support for the NCSD and its six working groups.  The EMA is also developing a website for the work of the council for access by the national and global community, to gain more insight and share ideas.

Membership of the NCSD is as follows:

  • Hayden Romano, Managing Director of the EMA, Chair.
  • Kishan Kumarsingh, Head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Deputy Chair.
  • Yvonne Neemacharan, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance.
  • Professor John Agard, Professor and Director of UWI St. Augustine’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
  • Dr Samantha Chadee, Assistant Professor, University of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Dr Thackwray Driver, President/CEO, the Energy Chamber.
  • Dr Ryan Allard, Corporate Secretary, Environment Tobago.
  • Mark Loquan, President, NGC.
  • Ryan Lewis, Vice President, TTMA.
  • Akilah Jaramoji, Director and CO-Founder, Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project.
  • Aljoscha Wothke, Founding Director, ERIC Tobago.
  • Lindford Beckles, Director, Department of the Environment, THA.
  • Denny Dipchansingh, Conservator of Forests.
  • Anthony Ramnarine, Environmentalist.
  • Shaleni Gopie, Senior Environmental Officer, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.

The Ministry said the country’s National Environmental Policy (NEP) articulates the priorities determined by the people of Trinidad and Tobago as critical to achieving environmental sustainability and ultimately, sustainable development.

The Ministry said its success depends on everyone understanding their roles and responsibilities regarding the environment while in pursuit of their interests.

The Ministry said:

“A healthy and sustainably managed environment enables foreign investment, job creation, and an improved standard of living. More so, maintaining a healthy environment is central to our health and well-being, security, and enjoyment of property.  The National Council for Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Planning and Development all play a role in ensuring this is achieved.”

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