On April 26th, 2018, the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago agreed to the approval the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for Trinidad and Tobago. This revised NBSAP provides an update on the status of biodiversity in T&T, whilst taking into consideration the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human health and well-being; the threats to biodiversity and the legal and policy context in which this NBSAP will be implemented.
In 2001, the first NBSAP for Trinidad and Tobago was approved by Cabinet and set out a plan of action for the country. A number of actions were initiated and completed to varying degrees in alignment with the strategies laid out in the NBSAP. As a result of an updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, and the recent adoption of the global agenda for sustainable development as articulated in the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the revision of the NBSAP was required to ensure national priorities for biodiversity conservation are re-defined and integrated into other national and international programmes.
The preparation of the revised NBSAP was guided by a National Oversight Committee (NOC) established by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), comprising representatives from the following organisations:
- Environmental Management Authority,
- Ministry of Planning and Development,
- Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries,
- Institute of Marine Affairs,
- Council of Presidents of the Environment
- Trust for Sustainable Livelihoods, and
- Environment Tobago
The revised NBSAP provides an update on the status of biodiversity in Trinidad and Tobago taking into consideration the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human health and well-being; the threats to biodiversity and the legal and policy context in which this NBSAP will be implemented. The concept of ecosystem based adaptation approaches are introduced as mechanisms for consideration in addressing the national response to Climate Change. The Revised NBSAP highlights the following:
- Value of biodiversity to Trinidad and Tobago
- Status of biodiversity
- Threats to biodiversity
- National and international legal/policy context
- Lessons learnt from the earlier NBSAP(s) and the process of developing the updated NBSAP
- Guiding principles of the NBSAP
- Action Plan
- Implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The revised Strategy covers a 5-year period between 2017 and 2022 to facilitate reporting on progress towards the completion of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, which ends in 2020, and to support implementation and a mid-term review of the SDGs. The strategies and actions are centred on the 20 National Biodiversity Targets, which are aligned to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The revised NBSAP has prioritised 7 national targets that the GoRTT will focus on implementing. The remaining targets will be also be implemented directly through implementation of the prioritised targets or indirectly through existing regional or national initiatives. These seven (7) priority national targets are:
- (a). By 2020, at the latest, at least 50% of people are aware of the values and understanding of biodiversity.
(b). By 2020, at the latest, at least 30% of people are aware of the steps they can take to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably.
- By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including marine habitats, is at least halved and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.
- By 2020 at least 30% of the major commercially important fish, invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably.
- (a). By 2020 at least 30% of areas under agriculture are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
(b). By 2020 at least 50% of areas under forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
- (a). By 2020, invasive alien species (IAS) and pathways are identified and prioritized for action.
(b). By 2020, at least 40% of priority terrestrial IAS species present are controlled or eradicated at priority sites
(c). By 2020, at least 50% of priority marine IAS species present are controlled or eradicated at priority sites.
(d). By 2020, measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.
- By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are managed consistent with approved plans.
- By 2020 the extinction of at least 60% of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.
The Ministry of Planning and Development (MPD) as the Ministry with responsibility for the environment, is the national focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Ministry aims to ensure that the pattern of development pursued by Trinidad and Tobago is sustainable, taking into account social, economic and environmental considerations in order to secure continuous improvements in the state of our natural environment. The MPD as the national focal point for the NBSAP has responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the NBSAP. The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and other relevant government agencies, non-governmental and community-based organisations (NGOs and CBOs) across the country that are involved in biodiversity conservation will being implementing certain aspects of the NBSAP. Accordingly, the MPD will be establishing a National Steering Committee to coordinate, monitor and oversee the strategies and actions contained in the revised NBSAP.
As we work towards us achieving of these national targets , we must remember that “Environmental Pride is National Pride”.