Planning and Development Minister, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis shared ideas with British High Commissioner Harriet Cross on international cooperation for sustainable development between Trinidad and Tobago and the UK. During a meeting on Friday December 18, the main areas discussed were climate change, waste management, green transportation, ways to develop green jobs and Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) to be held in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021.
Minister Robinson-Regis indicated that although Trinidad and Tobago has suffered setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government was still making the thrust to meet T&T’s carbon emissions reduction of 15% by 2030. One key project being explored by Cabinet is the acquisition of electric buses to begin transitioning Government’s public transportation fleet to more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. London has recently made a pledge to transform the entire transportation system to zero emissions by 2050 and the Planning Minister indicated that there is attention being given to the infrastructure needed for a similar effort in T&T.
According to High Commissioner Cross, there are pockets of funding available from which Trinidad and Tobago can benefit to help with the Government’s environmental thrust.
- British High Commissioner also indicated that many of the projects being undertaken by the T&T Government such as reef protection and coastal erosion in Tobago, fall directly in line with the UK Government’s environmental priorities through institutions such as the Global Ocean Alliance. Some of the other areas open for further discussions between Trinidad and Tobago and the UK include landfill rehabilitation, where work has already commenced in the Guanapo Landfill; strengthening the waste management system in Trinidad and Tobago; increasing T&T’s usage of renewable sources of energy for commercial and residential activities, where solar photovoltaic projects have already been initiated as well as the revitalization of the capital city of Port of Spain.
The High Commissioner stated her excitement at being a part of the work being done and pledged her willingness to support the Government’s national development thrust. Minister Robinson-Regis emphasized the Government’s commitment in placing the environment at the centre of social and economic development, and that Trinidad and Tobago will contribute to the UN Climate Change Conference in 2021 and will be willing to discuss further cooperation at the beginning of 2021 in the areas of clean growth, finance as well as climate change adaptation and resilience. Both parties agreed to continue talks in January 2021.