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Capacity Development for Improved Management of MEAs

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Capacity Development for Improved Management of MEAs

Continuing in our coverage of environmental issues and local strategies to address such, this article will look at the Capacity Development for Improved Management of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) for Global Environmental Benefits project.

In short, MEAs refer to legally binding agreements between countries that include commitments to meet objectives relating to environmental issues. Examples of MEAs that Trinidad and Tobago are a part of include the Paris Agreement and Montreal Protocol that have been covered in previous articles.

The Capacity Development for Improved Management of MEAs project, which was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Ministry of Planning and Development in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aimed to strengthen the ability of the Trinidad and Tobago Government to create, leverage and maintain synergies for the national implementation of MEAs, as well as strengthen integrated approaches for environmental management. This also included meeting MEAs’ guidance and national reporting requirements, which increase national and global benefits.

This was done as part of the GEF’s cross-cutting capacity development programme, which calls for countries to strengthen capacities for management and implementation of convention guidelines. According to Javed Lakhan, Environmental Policy Analyst at the Environmental Policy and Planning Division, one of the greatest challenges faced by the project was trying to get people who don’t usually consider the environmental impact of their work to start doing such and “…realise that environmental issues are present throughout almost all work being done in the public and private sectors as well as everyday life.”

Mr. Lakhan also stated that these individuals “…also need to consider environmental impact or issues in their respective sectors.”

The project team thus “…went down to a granular level in specific sectors and showed exactly how these environmental agreements and issues affect what individuals do on a day to day basis. They had a greater appreciation after the training for the ability to see how the environment and environmental issues apply to their lives.”

Key activities accomplished under this project included:

  • A comprehensive review of policy and legislation related to MEA implementation, which was done in order to make recommendations for improved alignment with MEA obligations.

  • Proposed amendments to relevant legislation to integrate national reporting on MEAs.

  • Extensive stakeholder consultation to inform the ongoing revision of the National Climate Change Policy (2011).

  • An assessment of institutions and coordination mechanisms to map the MEA obligations with the responsible agency/agencies and their mandates.

  • Mapping and capacity assessment of Civil Society Organisations (CSO)s with respect to their implementation of MEAs and ability to access the Green Fund of Trinidad and Tobago.

  • The development and implementation of a programme to improve project and organisational capacity of CSOs.

  • Training of government agencies, CSOs and the Green Fund Executing Unit on MEA obligations.

  • The development of an online self-paced course that facilitates the continuous and sustainable education of Trinidad and Tobago on MEAs.

  • Development of a Long Term Strategy and National Adaptation Plan for climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

  • Education, outreach and awareness building on MEAs through booklets, brochures, social media engagement and the launch of a website dedicated to MEAs in Trinidad and Tobago (

These efforts have supported the development of civil society and decision and policy maker capacity, as well as improved the coordination and collaboration among these groups. Efforts have also contributed to a sufficient ‘enabling environment’ for the implementation of MEAs here, in order for our country to meet national priorities and global environmental obligations.

For updated information on these and other environmental issues and activities in T&T, you can join the MEA Focal Point network by completing the Google Form found on the Environmental Policy and Planning Division TT Instagram and Facebook pages.


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