The Ministry of Planning and Development has represented Trinidad and Tobago in negotiations on the right to access environmental information, access to environmental justice and public participation in environmental decisions, which resulted in an unprecedented regional legal agreement. The agreement was approved on Sunday, March 4, 2018 in San Jose, Costa Rica, after more than six (6) years of intense meetings and negotiations. This milestone marks the first legally binding agreement between the Caribbean and Latin America on environmental democracy. Trinidad and Tobago will benefit from the restructuring of organizational relations, strengthening partnerships, relationships and commitments, and increased coordination and cooperation between civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations and government authorities to address global environmental concerns. Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Soles concluded by stressing the need to involve people in environmental decisions and make them participants in development, because „the right to a healthy environment is a human right.“ He also stressed the legal relevance of the agreement and „environmental democracy“ as a new legal concept that involves the participation of all in environmental protection. These rights ensure both that environmental issues affecting disadvantaged and vulnerable groups are adequately addressed and that policy decisions on the environment take into account the needs and views of these groups. The project funds will be used to support actions to better coordinate projects funded by the TT Green Fund for the Implementation of MEA Commitments in Trinidad and Tobago. contribute to national environmental benefits and hence to global environmental benefits. The project will aim to increase the effectiveness of this unique national environmental financing mechanism by unleashing its funding potential. The actions supported by the project will strengthen the technical capacity of the Green Fund Implementation Unit (GFEU) and the ability of civil society organizations to access GFTT funding. The agreement adopted is the conclusion of a process launched in 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio-20) with the declaration on the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Principle 10 is designed to ensure that everyone has access to information, can participate in decision-making and has access to environmental justice to protect the right to a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future generations.
Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh, head of multilateral environmental agreements at the Ministry of Planning and Development, was actively involved in the negotiations on the Chairs Committee, which chaired the negotiations, as well as the co-chairs on important articles of the agreement.