Planning Minister meets with British High Commissioner to discuss bilateral relations

The Minister of Planning and Development, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis hosted a courtesy call with His Excellency Tim Stew, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Wednesday 21, February at the Eric Williams Financial Complex. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have enjoyed strong bilateral ties for the past 55 years through mutually beneficial trade, educational and cultural programmes.  The agenda of the bilateral discussions zoned in on environmental matters and diversification.

In addressing climate change, Head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreement Unit of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Dr. Kishan Kumarsingh, stated that Trinidad and Tobago was the first Caribbean island and second smallest island developing state to submit their commitments to Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris. This commitment means that Trinidad and Tobago will have to reduce its accumulative emission by 15% from industry, power generation and transport sector by 2020 from a business as usual baseline. Trinidad and Tobago has not yet ratified the Paris agreement but the Government is working on it assiduously. As it pertains to coastal erosion, the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis stated, “Relevant agencies are no longer working in siloes, as an integrated approach to coastal erosion management is being undertaken”.  An inter-ministerial committee to oversee the Action Plan for implementing the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Policy Framework to mitigate negative impacts on the coastal and marine environment was established over the years and have been holding discussion recently to alleviate the situation

His Excellency Tim Stew was delighted to hear that Trinidad and Tobago will nominate the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve to be included in the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC). The QCC creates a Commonwealth network of forest conservation projects, the QCC will mark Her Majesty the Queen’s service to the Commonwealth while conserving indigenous forests for future generations.

During the discussion on potential areas for further collaboration, diversification was mentioned. Dr Kieron Swift from the Economic Development Advisory Board highlighted that although there has been collaboration with the Cambridge University which produced a Diversification Strategy Roadmap (DSR) additional support is always welcomed. The Diversification road map has identified seven industries including the food and beverage manufacturing and indigenous agricultural products, digital platforms and ICT-enabled services, maritime aviation and related services, creative industries, energy services, tourism, nearshore financial services.

Others areas discussed include: Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, sharing UK’s recently launched clean growth strategy and sharing the UK’s recently launched industrial strategy

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