Government Ratifies Paris Agreement

In the image, from left: Ms. Charlene Roopnarine, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, New York; Mr. Vladamir Budhu, Second  Secretary, Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, New York; Her Excellency Pennelope Beckles, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, New York; and Ms. Dina Hamdy, Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs Treaty  Section, United Nations, New York display Trinidad and Tobago’s Instrument of Ratification to the Paris Agreement.

The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development is has announced that Trinidad and Tobago deposited its instrument of ratification to the Paris Agreement on climate change on February 22nd, 2018 in New York at the United Nations’ Headquarters. 
Through ratification of the Paris Agreement, this means that Trinidad and Tobago has confirmed its intended Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC) and therefore the iNDC has officially become the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the formal commitment of this nation to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement. This commitment means that we will have to reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent from industry, power generation and the transport sector by 2030 from a business as usual baseline.
The Ministry of Planning and Development, as the National Focal Point for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, will now be coordinating the implementation of obligations under the Paris Agreement through its Multi-Lateral Environmental Agreements Unit (MEAU).
The Ministry has already begun preparatory work in anticipation of ratification which includes:

  • Development of an NDC Implementation Plan;
  • Design of a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system to track the implementation of the NDC and by extension the Paris Agreement;
  • Examining the legal underpinnings of the MRV system with a view to mainstreaming the process while addressing any gaps;
  • Preparing a financial investment plan for the NDC as implementation will also be contingent on external provision of finance through bilateral and multilateral donors and organizations such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  • Emissions reductions are already accruing under the CNG fuel-switching programme of the CNGC of the National Gas Company, as emissions reductions from the transportation sector, including through fuel switching forms part of the NDC. This represents emissions reductions which will be effected domestically and without external financing, as part of the NDC commitment.  

The next stages will include rolling out the NDC Implementation Plan in consultation and cooperation with the key stakeholders in the identified sectors, including a testing of the monitoring, reporting and verification system.
The Government, through the Ministry of Planning and Development will also be engaging fully in the international negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement as the technical rules and modalities for the global implementation of the Paris Agreement are being negotiated and finalized. This is critically important for T&T to stake its claims and raise its concerns. The process of NDC implementation and by extension implementing the Paris Agreement is therefore an ongoing one with which the Planning Ministry will be fully engaged locally and internationally. 
This is consistent with Government’s current environmental policy through Theme V of the National Development Strategy: Vision 2030 which commits to “Placing the environment at the centre of social and economic development”.
The Ministry of Planning and Development is already working on achieving this goals which through strengthening environmental management and governance systems, reducing T&T’s carbon footprint, assessing our climate vulnerability and creating comprehensive waste and pollution management systems among others.