Sunday, 18 May 2014

National Environmental Policy (2006)

The formulation and adoption of a National Environmental Policy (NEP) is a stipulation of the Environmental Management Act 1995 (EM Act) and is an expression of the Government's recognition of the right to enjoy life and the enjoyment of property as enshrined under Section 4(a) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. Accordingly, the NEP was designed to promote the conservation and wise use of the environment of Trinidad and Tobago and to serve as a manifesto of goals, objectives and principles which would guide the management of natural resources so that the needs of present and future generations, as well as the enhancement of the quality of life, can be met.

The first policy, adopted in 1998, was subsequently revised in 2005 under Section 18 (5) of the EM Act which allows for the revision of the policy as the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) sees fit.  Increasing industrialisation of the domestic economy, in conjunction with expanding urbanisation, has led to a revision of the NEP to reflect the new and amplified pressures the environment now faces.  The latest revision of the NEP therefore, attempts to address concerns arising out of conflicting uses of ecosystem services and resources in the context of Trinidad and Tobago's commitments to Mulitlateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), as well as the need to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of natural capital. 

The following highlights the main sections of the revised NEP which identify and delineate priority areas and proposed long term strategies for environmental management respectively:

1. Overview of the State of the Environment
  • Legislative, regulatory and practical policy implementation issues
2. Goals, Objectives and Basic Principles
3. Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  • Environmentally Sensitive Species
  • Invasive Species
  • Coastal and Marine Areas
  • Forests
  • Wetlands
  • Water resources
  • Mineral resources
  • Energy
4. Pollution, Hazardous and Toxic Substances
  • Air and noise pollution
  • Motor vehicle emissions
  • Ozone depleting substances
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Wastes
  • Hazardous wastes
  • Hazardous substances and spills
  • Natural disasters and environmental emergencies
  • Contaminated land
5. Assessment of Impacts, Public Information and Environmental Education
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Availability of information
  • Environmental education
6. Financial and Economic Instruments
7. Policy Implementation
  • Promoting and implementing the policy
  • Institutional linkages and Global Alliances
  • Conclusion: the way forward