Beckles reappoints sustainability council

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Planning and Development Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson. – File photo/Ayanna Kinsale

PLANNING Minister Pennelope Beckles reappointed the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), said a ministry statement on Thursday.

“In pursuant of the key goals of the 2018 National Environmental Policy (NEP), Cabinet appointed the NCSD three years ago under the stewardship of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to develop and oversee the NEP action plan.”

She said the council’s goals and achievements were in line with Vision 2030, the national development strategy, which was built on the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The council’s role includes making proposals to develop an action plan for the NEP. It also advises on issues involving the development and implementation of the NEP and its Action Plan. The council also helps prioritize aspects of each area in the short, medium, and long term. It also makes recommendations for the composition of at least NEP working groups to prepare and execute implementation plans for the prioritized thematic areas.

The council reviews and updates the NEP Action Plan. It reviews the progress of NEP working groups set up to advance priority areas of the NEP Action Plan. The council helps resolve strategic-level issues and risks to the development and implementation of the NEP Action Plan.

“During the first three-year term of the council, advances were made to fulfill its key mandate, which was to identify and recommend priority thematic areas and to determine the necessary action plans.”

As such, the council has identified several priority areas. The first was the protection of environmental and human health by pollution control. Along with hazardous waste considerations, this included a focus on solid waste to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, including the sound management of all wastes.

Secondly, the council oversees the sustainable management of natural assets, entailing coastal area and marine management plus agriculture management in line with SDG 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Regarding agriculture management, the statement said agricultural food systems can contribute to water, soil, and biodiversity conservation, food security, food sovereignty, rural wealth creation, and significant reductions in food import expenditure.

Thirdly, the council helps improve the local environment, in terms of planning and human settlements.

“The importance of ensuring that urban and rural communities live within cities, towns, and villages that meet their needs and provide a safe environment must not be minimized, as settlement features can impact the environment, human health, and the economy.”

Fourthly, the council impacts the evolution of a greener economy.

“The growth of a greener economy shares parity with environmental conservation and fosters an environmentally responsible society.”