GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 11, CMC – The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat says the regional integration grouping is moving towards establishing a more cohesive approach to environmental governance.
It said that senior policy officials in environment and sustainable development from across the region met earlier this month examining the critical importance of maintaining balance between a healthy environment and sustainable economic development.
It said the meeting via video link also discussed ways to advance the CARICOM Environment and Natural Resources Policy Framework which was mandated by Ministers of Environment at the 25th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Environment, in 2008.
“This mandate was based on the awareness that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is as much an environmental space as it is economic. As such, the CARICOM Secretariat, in the process to develop the Policy Framework, conducted assessments of the environmental governance structure of Member States and an examination of the environmental dimensions of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas,” the Secretariat added.
It said to date, the national assessments of governance structures have guided regional consultations with CARICOM member states and served as a foundation for the design of the Draft CARICOM Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Framework, and Frist Action Programme (2017-2022).
The Draft Policy Framework has been formulated with the awareness that unsustainable use of resources could undermine regional sustainable development options and it proposes a structure for environmental and natural resources management in CARICOM.
It acknowledges the vital role that land, air, water and oceans play in maintaining economic, social and environmental development of the Community and provides the basis for a collective response in the Community, in line with Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Secretariat noted.
The Secretariat quoted Dr. Douglas Slater, the Assistant Secretary-General within the Directorate of Human and Social Development, as informing the meeting of the importance of regional cooperation and mobilisation of the Region’s resources in responding to challenges in the environment.
He urged that every effort be made to inform the public on what was being done in CARICOM to benefit the lives of citizens. CARICOM member states have stressed that a new round of consultations with their national stakeholders will now have to take place in order to advance the policy validation process.