Press release 452/2010
(11 November 2010)


(CARICOM Secretariat Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) On Wednesday 10 November, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, in Georgetown, Guyana, commenced the training of the next generation of regional environmental negotiators.

The Regional Skills Training Workshop forms part of a capacity-building programme funded by the European Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by the CARICOM Secretariat, for African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries to implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) more effectively. The Workshop was organized by the CARICOM Secretariat in tandem with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD).

Over the three days of the workshop, the participants will be involved in stimulated exercises on negotiation briefing; articulating negotiation positions; developing draft texts; and focusing on issues relating to REDD and REDD+, finance and technology. The workshop will feature presentations and discussions on important developments in climate change including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol; and priority issues for CARICOM.

Head of Section for Regional Development and Integration at the Georgetown office of the European Union, Mr. Ewout Sandker, in his remarks on behalf of the organisation said that the EU had made available €21.45 M for the period 2009-2013 to assist ACP countries in the effective implementation of a wide range of MEAs. These included climate change, biodiversity, desertification, chemicals and waste. Areas such as pesticides/chemicals management and the Clean Development Mechanism were also covered under another component of the project.

Mr. Sandker said that the EU’s support to ACP countries was motivated by the countries’ challenge with implementing MEAs due to lack of financial, technical and human resources. He noted that the present negotiation workshop centered on the CARICOM-Secretariat as the regional hub to organise and facilitate capacity-building actions, but the programme also addressed issues such as knowledge management systems, awareness raising and mainstreaming of MEAs, biodiversity and climate change into national and regional policies and strategies.

Director, Sustainable Development, CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Garfield Barnwell said that the knowledge generated by the workshop would add “great value” to ACP countries in fine-tuning ongoing activities to address climate change and sea level rise.

In the Caribbean Region, he said, hurricanes, storms, and floods had become a common threat to the development gains over the past 50 years and to the survival of many countries.

Mr. Barnwell said that the Region had been “at the forefront” of advocating “practical actions and measures” to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. In ongoing multilateral negotiations, he added, members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) had continued to “hold their ground” on the principles of the UNFCCC agreement, given the “high stakes” relating to their survival.

Against this backdrop, he said that the workshop was useful in allowing participants to explore and analyse the complexities of multilateral environmental negotiations.

“Effective environmental management demands that countries cooperate openly,” Mr. Barnwell said, adding that negotiations had been a primary means of managing conflicts; reaching agreements and managing the environmental challenges facing the global community.

It was therefore crucial, he stated, for the Region to have a cadre of negotiators who were “fully equipped with adequate data, tools and fineness.”

Mr. Barnwell expressed appreciation for the support of the European Union and the United Nations Environment Programme in the implementation of the Caribbean Hub of the ACP Multilateral Environmental Agreements Project.


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