The Environment Report UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office

Edition # 2: August- December 2017

In this Issue:
  • Caribbean Ministers Make Commitments for UNEA-3 and beyond
  • UN Environment Joins UN Agencies for Experience 2030
  • Caribbean Seeks to Develop Standards and Regulations for Lead In Paint

General News

Caribbean Ministers Make Commitments for UNEA 3 and beyond

Several Caribbean leaders including two Presidents and Ministers of Environment have pledged their countries' continued efforts to reduce pollution and their support to the UN Environment's Assembly recently held in December 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mainly through the use of video, the commitments encompass actions for the reduction of all forms of pollution in air, land and sea.

UN Environment has consistently been working with Caribbean countries to ensure that they meet their own waste management/pollution reduction goals.

Featured in this edition, is our story from Haiti, where team members are implementing management plans, demonstration projects at Haiti's annual summer festival and hosting youth camps in order to protect mangroves from pollution.

Other UNEA-3 moments
Top Photos: UN Environment, Latin America and the Caribbean representatives at the announcement of Champions of the Earth and Young Champions sessions. Bottom photos: Presidents Granger and Carmona of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago respectively, share a photo moment with the Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solhiem.

uN Environment Joins UN Jamaica for Experience 2030

UN Environment's UN Day 2017 "EnviroZone"

UN Agencies in Jamaica celebrated UN Day at Emancipation Park in Kingston on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, with a grand outdoor public education event dubbed “Experience 2030”.

The day sought to foster awareness and support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among Jamaicans with an aim to encourage connection and ownership of the SDGs.

Student participants at the UN Environment booth guess answers to our questions about UN Environment

Through participatory activities and an interactive booth, UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office and the Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP) partnered in the “EnviroZone” to showcase their work in the achievement of SDGs #14 & 15- Life Below Water and Life on Land.

Visitors to the booth interacting with UN Environment staff member

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) joined the UN Environment agencies as the main partner/exhibitor.

Visitors were especially encouraged to engage in positive actions to reduce land and water pollution.

Other highlights from the UN Environment UN Day booth

Spotlight on our Work

Caribbean Seeks to Develop Regulations & Standards on Lead In Paint

Vincent Sweeney, Head of the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office welcomes participants to the Lead In Paint Seminar

After the successful hosting of the second UN Environment Assembly in 2016, several Caribbean Ministers indicated a need to learn more about the global issues relating to lead paint.The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint, which is co-led by the UN Environment and World Health Organization and chaired by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in response to this need, collaborated with the Norman Manley Law school to host local and regional representatives of the paint industry as well as their supporting stakeholders and partners for a seminar at the Norman Manley Law School on Friday, December 1, 2017.

Local government agencies, paint manufacturers, one non-governmental agency as well as representatives from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) secretariats participated in the workshop dubbed “the Caribbean Seminar on the Development of National and Regional Regulations and Standards on Lead in Paint”.

Presentation during the seminar of the status of lead in paint in other countries

The seminar, which is the first UN workshop that publicly presents the Model Law and Guidance for the Regulation of Lead in Paint to developing countries, introduced participants to the impacts of lead in paint on human health and environment, lessons learnt from awareness campaigns in various countries, the status of global lead paint laws and the model law that had been developed for the regulation of lead in paint.

Participants also had the opportunity to share the experiences of countries in the Latin American region who had used the model law as a guide for developing their own regulations.

Considered to be a good starting point, the participants agreed that further discussions would help facilitate the development of laws locally and regionally.

Second-year law students, Amanda Wallace and Sherri-Gae Jones, shared counsel regarding the current model law and its potential for being implemented in Jamaica. Participants ended the day by discussing adjustments to the model law that they thought would meet the legislative structure of their countries.

Second year law students give counsel regarding the model law suitability for Jamaica.

UN Environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the America Bar Association pledged their commitment to continue to facilitate the discussions with Jamaican stakeholders and to assist them in adapting the model law to national and regional situations.

Snapshots from the Caribbean Lead in Paint Seminar.

CBD Helps Caribbean Member states generate Action against Invasive Alien Species

Highlights of the Convention on Biological Diversity's Capacity Building Workshop for Caribbean Small Island Developing States.

Invasive Alien Species are listed among top drivers of biological decline, especially in island ecosystems. It was a great initiative on the part of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) to host a workshop on the 18th- 22nd of September 2017 dubbed the " Capacity-Building Workshop for Caribbean Small Island Developing States towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 9". The workshop aimed to help Caribbean members states generate action to prevent and control the presence of invasive species in their island territories.

The three-day workshop allowed participants from ministries responsible for the conservation of biological diversity and national plant protection organizations to exchange information on the management of invasive alien species and pests including pre-import and post-export management activities.

In addition, they were able to identify complementary roles of other organizations that would assist in the prevention and control.

The workshop also covered regional issues, gaps in the convention, progress in achieving its targets, solving the issues and the next steps which will support an action plan for achieving the Achi Target 9 on Invasive Alien Species.

Participants and Coordinators of the recently held CBD Invasive Alien Species Workshop
Caption from Achi Target 9

Caribbean Decides Indicators Of A Healthy Environment

The week of October 2-6 2017 was abuzz with activity as Caribbean stakeholders attended a range of activities during Caribbean Environmental Information Week.

The activities began with a one-day seminar focused on the status and trends of the environment in Latin America and Caribbean. Key stakeholders discussed the achievements, gaps and remaining challenges of several national and regional programmes monitoring and reporting on the state of the environment in their respective Caribbean countries.

The need for more collaboration between governments and other key players as well as the identification of a set of core indicators which when regularly measured could monitor the state of the environment were established as key areas to work on.

Following that initial discussion, there was a two-day technical workshop of the Latin American and the Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development (ILAC) Working Group on Environmental Indicators to identify indicators that were most relevant and of priority to the Caribbean, which could be used to monitor and report on the state of its environment.

The working group and stakeholders identified indicators for the following priority areas

  • Climate Change
  • Ecosystems Management
  • Land Use Planning, Law Enforcement and Vulnerability
  • Water Quality
  • Waste & Energy
Caribbean representatives discuss what environmental indicators will ensure achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the successful measurement of a healthy environment.

Caribbean Experience Shapes discussion on sIDS Resource Management

Participants of the panel discussion (l-r: Marian Chertow, Yale University; V. Sweeney; John Telesford, T.A. Marryshow Community College; Mariana Fischer-Kowalski, Alpen Adria University; Tomer Fishman, Yale University; Anastasia Lampou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research; Donovan Campbell, University of the West Indies)

At a three- day workshop titled 'Governance, Institutions and Resource Use on Small Island Developing States, held at the University of Waterloo on October 23rd- 25th 2017, UN Environment had the opportunity to share the Caribbean resource management experience.

The workshop, sponsored by the Water Institute located at the University of Waterloo, aimed at understanding how governance and various institutional frameworks affected the flow of resources such as water in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The participants additionally investigated sustainability issues of Caribbean SIDS in light of the risk of extreme weather events as well as the impacts of hurricanes on economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture. They also sought to examine several approaches towards resource mobilization and the direction countries could take in order to 'build back better' post-disaster.

The discussions informed the development of a working paper which examines water resources management, energy sustainability , restoration of housing stock, food sustainability as well as other social-ecological factors.

CTCN Strengthens Work with the Caribbean

Vincent Sweeney, Head of the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office delivers remarks during the opening ceremony of the Climate Technology Centre and Network's Caribbean Regional Forum.

The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) hosted its second Caribbean regional forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston Jamaica on August 24th and 25th 2017.

A section of the representatives who delivered remarks during the opening ceremony.

32 delegates from Caribbean countries and other local and regional agencies such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), UN Environment (UNEP), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), SIDS DOCK, Green Climate Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Wigton Wind Farm, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), and Smith Warner International heard updates from the various Caribbean countries regarding their progress with implementing climate/environmental programmes and technologies.

In addition, the countries reviewed their climate technology priorities, explored opportunities, both technological and financial, which they could use to implement the convention, future collaborations with the CTCN and the Green Climate Fund, and linkages to other financial institutions which could be used to support climate change technology.

The countries also had an opportunity to recommend future support necessary from the Climate Technology Centre and Network.

Participants of the 2017 Climate Technology Centre and Network's Caribbean Regional Forum.

uN Environment Helps Caribbean Countries Rebuild after Devastating Hurricanes

Following the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria on several of our member states, a combined UN Environment/ OCHA team was deployed to assess the state of the countries especially in light of environmental impacts and disaster waste management.

Dan Stohart, Regional Coordinator for the Disasters and Conflicts Sub-programmes at the UN Environment Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean reflects on the rebuilding process in Dominica and UN Environment’s involvement.

An aerial view of Dominica taken in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma & Maria

UN Environment hosts First High Level Forum For Ministers With Responsibility For Waste

Participants of the 1st High Level Forum of Ministers with responsibility for Waste

The First High-level Forum of Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for Waste Management was held on October 19-20, 2017 during the 26th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA).

Approximately 35 persons including representatives from the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of the Republic of Guyana met to discuss key waste management issues with a special focus on disaster waste management.

The meeting heard from a panel of regional experts and looked at some of the current concerns related to hurricane debris. Sessions also dealt with plastic waste, financing mechanisms for integrated waste management, and featured a discussion around the Caribbean Action Plan for Waste Management. Finally, the Forum made recommendations to be presented to the Third United Nations Environment Assembly.

The High-Level forum delivers on a recommendation from the Waste Management Conference held in July 2017 to involve ministers in discussions related to Waste Management Action Plans.

Other moments from the High-Level Forum
UN Environment Lends Support to 13th High Level Forum of Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for Water
Participants at the High-Level Forum for Ministers with responsibility for Water

Regional government ministers with responsibility for water met at the 26th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) to discuss governance (including wastewater and water operator partnership issues), the building of climate resilience in the water sector, preparation for the 8th World Water Forum and overall management of water in the Caribbean.

The meeting presented an opportunity for representatives at the 13th High-Level Forum of Caribbean Ministers to address policy and strategic matters with donors, technical assistance agencies and the development banks

The Minister from Dominica shared challenges and the devastation experienced from Hurricane Maria and called on the conference for support to rebuild the water sector.

The conference also offered an excellent opportunity to frame these challenges in a manner that would stimulate action to urgently address them. The wide variety of stakeholders present at the event provided a unique platform for discussion, strategizing and most importantly finding solutions to the problems faced by the water sector in the region.

Christopher Corbin, Programme Officer, Pollution and Communications Sub-programmes at the Cartagena Convention, UN Environment Caribbean Environment Programme makes a presentation to the audience.

The meeting was of particular significance given extreme weather events experienced in the region. Recent hurricanes in many countries have had severe impacts on several economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and the domestic situation.

As water resources management in the Caribbean has always posed many challenges including poor distribution, ageing infrastructure, high leakage rate and the inability of water utility companies to be financially sustainable, among many others, the meeting sought to find collective solutions. Climate change and climate variability have compounded these challenges.

Minister Bulkan from Guyana makes a point during the presentation.

The High Level Forum on Water attracted agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), United Nations Environment (UNEP) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

UN Environment Supports the Caribbean Water & Wastewater Associations' 26th Annual Conference
Opening Ceremony and debate session at the CWWA 26th Annual Conference and Exhibition

The Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association kicked off its 26th Annual Conference in Georgetown on October 16th, with a High-level Opening Ceremony. The 5-day conference attracted more than 300 persons. A major element of the event was the trade show and exhibition, labelled the largest in the Caribbean, which showcased cutting edge technology as well as new products and services in water and waste management.

The event also featured a debate titled “When Disasters Strike: How Innovative and Creative are we in managing our Water and Waste Resources”, moderated by Vincent Sweeney, Head of the Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, which highlighted the impacts on Dominica from Hurricane Maria, as well as the efforts of the Caribbean Disaster & Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the UN (particularly PAHO/WHO) in responding to these disasters.

The conference also featured a series of technical sessions.


If you missed highlights of our activities in the media, click the links for details

environmental days

UN Environment Joins Jamaica for International Coastal Clean-Up Day

The UN Jamaica Team at the recently celebrated International Coastal Clean- Up Day.

On September 16, 2017, UN Environment and members of the UN Jamaica Team joined scores of Jamaicans at the Palisadoes strip, Port Royal for International Coastal Clean-up Day.

In a joint statement from the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office and the Caribbean Environment Programme; Head of the Sub-Regional Office, Vincent Sweeney and Coordinator of the Caribbean Environment Programme, Lorna Inniss highlighted the roles that activities such as the clean-up contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals as well as the benefits to the economy, health, natural beauty and biodiversity of Caribbean countries.

UN Environment staff bag and record trash items on International Coastal Clean-Up Day.

country highlights

Guyana Makes Progress With Green State Development Strategy

According to President Granger, of the Republic of Guyana "the aim is to move the pursuit of a 'green' agenda from imagination to implementation and from reverie to reality.'

The occasion was Guyana’s first meeting of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Multi-Stakeholder Expert Group on November 22, 2017. In collaboration with UN Environment, particularly the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and its Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, Guyana has been making strides in the development of its Green State Development Strategy.

“National commitment for a Green State reaffirms that the environmental dimension cannot be isolated from economic growth and social wellbeing. The three dimensions of sustainable development are equally important for a society to flourish and for human happiness”, said Adriana Zacarias, representative of the UN Environment Programme,

The Green State Development Strategy lays the foundation for an inclusive green economy, resulting in improved human well-being and social equity. Guyana's economy under the strategy is expected to diversify, reducing the country's reliance on resource-intensive sectors and opening new sustainable income sources, investment opportunities and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The expert group will add their technical assistance and experience to develop an inclusive and comprehensive strategy which will serve as a long-term vision, guiding Guyana's economic, social and environmental development.

One hundred and thirty (130) individuals including representatives of seven diplomatic missions, heads of United Nations agencies, senior governmental officials, senior representatives of NGOs and the private sector came together to increase their awareness of the purpose of the strategy and to determine the various roles of the members and teams of the stakeholder expert group.

The resulting Green State Development Strategy will encompass seven focus areas including:

1. Green and Inclusive Structural Transformation: Diversifying the economic base, accessing new markets and creating decent jobs for all.

2. Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Expansion of Environmental Services: stewardship of natural patrimony.

3. Energy – Transition to Renewable Energy and Greater Energy Independence.

4. Resilient Infrastructure and Spatial Development.

5. Human Development and Well-being.

6. Governance and Institutional Pillars.

7. International Cooperation, Trade and Investment.


upcoming events/dates

Mark these important dates in your calendar!

inside the caribbean sub-regional office

National UNV Communication Specialist reflects on Sharing Her experience at the World Festival of Youth and Students

Newsletter cut-out as shared by the UNV Caribbean Regional Sub-hub
We thank you for your support during the year 2017 and look forward to continued partnership in 2018.

The Environment Report is a bi-annual publication of the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office.

To share thoughts and comments contact the office at:

14-20 Port Royal Street, Kingston

Telephone: (876) 922-9267

Email: unep.caribbean@pnuma.org

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