National Environmental Policy of Trinidad and Tobago is a comprehensive and concrete framework for environmental sustainability and management. The adoption and formulation of a National Environmental Policy (NEP) is a prerequisite of the Environmental Management Act 1995 (EM Act) and is a statement of the Government’s acknowledgment of the right to enjoy life and the enjoyment of property as mentioned under Section 4(a) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. The first policy received in 1998, was afterwards revised in 2005 under Section 18 (5) of the EM Act, which takes into consideration the revision of the policy as the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) considered fit.
The difficulties in the environmental management of Trinidad and Tobago since the formulation of the earlier NEP remain,to a great extent, the same. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) perceives that environment is closely related to poverty, economic growth, human health and prosperity, disaster risk reduction, gender equality, peace, and justice.
The policy thereby was updated that goes beyond the conventional environmental issues (e.g., pollution and conservation) and addresses issues that exist at the edge of the environment and society and the environment and economy as well. The 2018 NEP reflects and fortifies the environmental mainstay of Trinidad and Tobago’s sustainable development thrust by the national framework with regional and international sustainable development agendas, for example, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The National Environmental Policy is extensive and applies to all divisions and areas of activity. The main aim of the policy is the preservation and smart utilization of the environment of Trinidad and Tobago to offer enough in addressing the requirements of present and future generations and upgrading the quality of life.
It has explicit objectives, including the control of pollution, the preservation of biological diversity, and the exploration or evaluation of past advancement decisions with the point of rectifying any decision that might be hostile to environmental health. Few developments occurred in 2018 NEP during a period and have been mentioned: A cross country environmental awareness/ literacy survey led by the EMA towards revising the NEP focused on 984 across all regional corporations and nations of Trinidad and Tobago. Around 6120 Secondary School Students across Trinidad and Tobago and 45 senior official delegates of nine industrial sectors were targeted.
A stakeholder questionnaire survey was directed by the EMA focusing on 212 stakeholders across public, private, and non-governmental originations to accumulate initial input and viewpoints on the 2006 NEP. The EMA held about 13 thematic focus group meetings across Trinidad and Tobago in 2016, each consisting of 15 partners from those group’s thematic regions. The thematic groups were: Government Agencies, Ministries and State-Owned Agencies; Municipal Corporations, Local Government and Rural Development; Regional and International Agencies; Education and Research Institutions; Environmental NGOs; Environmental CBOs; Extractive Industry; Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife; Business and Manufacturing; and Tourism, Maritime and Other Emerging Sectors.
Literature review and GAP Analysis report was appointed by the EMA to survey more than 100 documents comprising of public national policies, laws, and reports, provincial strategies, and international policies with an immediate bearing on the environmental governance of Trinidad and Tobago.
Remarks and reviews from the staff of the EMA; a specialist review panel comprising of recognized people in the domains of Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development; and the experts contracted to lead the revision of the NEP. About 9 public consultations were held at Trinidad and Tobago over the period February – May 2017 in the following regions: Arouca, Chaguanas, Port of Spain, Sangre Grande, Vessigny, San Fernando, Mayaro, Argyle, and Scarborough. Written submissions through mail or electronically by the EMA from the public have been received.
A formal Public Comment period on the draft modified NEP over the period October 2017 – December 2017 took place in which the report was placed online and at 19 areas across Trinidad and Tobago for public review. Post-Public feedback Comment from different partners and the Ministry of Planning and Development throughout January 2018 – March 2018 have been received. A survey was conducted by the Minister of Planning and Development and Cabinet over the period of March 2018 – October 2018. The NEP is thus intended to endorse the preservation and insightful utilization of the environment of Trinidad and Tobago and to serve as the proposal of goals, objectives, and principles which would guide the administration of natural resource so that the requirement of present and future generation and improvement of the equality of life is met.
Furthermore, as the National Environmental Policy is implemented vivaciously in Tobago, then the chance of accomplishing the objective of sustainable advancement will acknowledge fundamentally.
Photo Credit : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Maracas_Bay_-Trinidad%2C_West_Indies.jpg/640px-Maracas_Bay-_Trinidad%2C_West_Indies.jpg