Civil Society calls on the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to update timeline for establishing the National Council for Sustainable Development following expiration of stipulated deadline

On Monday 18th November 2019, twenty-six civil society organisations working on environmentally-sustainable national development across Trinidad and Tobago, delivered via email, an open letter to the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, former Minister of Planning and Development, to draw her attention to the fact that the date of actualisation of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) has passed. The National Environmental Policy (NEP), as laid in Parliament on the 2nd November 2018, called for establishment of the NCSD within a year of its issuance.

As stated in the National Environmental Policy (laid on 2nd November 2018), “…to further the implementation of this policy, a National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) will be established within one year of this NEP coming into effect. The NCSD will provide a forum for Government, business and civil society to have ongoing oversight with advisory functions to the Action Plan. The composition of the NCSD will, at all times, also reflect the tenets of the principle of Good Governance; ensuring, inter alia, the meaningful involvement of women and youth.”

 On January 6th, 2020 an amended letter was delivered via email to the Honourable Prime Minister requesting an update on the status of the establishment of the NCSD. In their response dated January 7th, 2020, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development noted that the establishment of the NCSD was under active consideration before Cabinet and expressed a desire to continue a “close working relationship between civil society and the Ministry of Planning and Development.”

In the spirit of this sentiment, civil society strongly urges the Honourable Dr Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, to address the matter in his new capacity of Minister of Planning and Development, by sharing an updated timeline for the establishment of the NCSD and a framework in which civil society participation is included in the development of the mandate for the NCSD, the criteria for members’ selection and subsequent composition of the NCSD before its establishment.

Civil society strongly urges the Ministry of Planning and Development to establish the National Council for Sustainable Development at the earliest opportunity and reiterates that this critical mechanism must be achieved in a manner that is truly transparent and representative in order to be of benefit to all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

For more information on civil society’s collective advocacy around the NCSD and/or the project ‘CSOS for Good Environmental Governance’ contact Omar Mohammed at: omohammed@thecropperfoundation.org

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Click link for copy of letter: Civil Society Letter To Prime Minister On NCSD

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