PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- UWI Consulting Inc., in collaboration with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Service Industries (TTCSI), and with support from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Chair at University of the West Indies (UWI) recently hosted a two-day workshop on Trade Policy, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability from September 19-20 2013, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
The workshop examined the effects of mitigation and adaptation policies on key economic and trade sectors, in addition to the ecological effects of climate change. Participants from the private sector, business support organizations (BSOs), governmental agencies, regional organizations, academia and the donor community were also given the opportunity to analyse and assess the trade and climate change governance scenario, formulate negotiation positions, and identify strategic options to inform policy-making.
In his opening remarks, Nirad Tewarie, chief executive officer, TTCSI, noted, “The region must develop a capacity to respond to the evolving climate change and trade governance context, to ensure that new mitigation policies are not used as a barrier to the exports of [our] goods and services.”
Executive director of UWI Consulting Inc., and workshop coordinator Dr Keith Nurse, commented, “Climate change should not only be viewed as a challenge, as there are significant opportunities for economic and social transformation, and environmental renewal that the region could tap into once a proactive and evidence-based approach is adopted.”
Joachim Monkelbaan, global platform programme officer, ICTSD, and joint workshop coordinator, remarked that the “green economy is a major growth pole in an otherwise recession-plagued global economy and that new sustainable jobs are to be had in the renewable energy sector once the regulatory and financing issues are resolved.”
It was further proposed by Dr Vinaye Ancharaz, senior development economist, ICTSD, that the Caribbean region should utilise aid for trade funds to accelerate the adaptation process and boost international trade.
The workshop also saw presentations from Cletus Springer, director, Department of Sustainable Development, Organisation of American States (OAS), who presented on the implications of climate change to the tourism sector and outlined a systematic approach for industry upgrading; Jodie Keane, research fellow, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), who spoke on the strategic importance of marrying the liberalization of environmental goods and services with a strategy for low carbon competitiveness; and Edwin Laurent, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) adviser, who added that the green economy was critical for building a resilient and diversified economy in the Caribbean region and that the climate change scenario was an important call for action.
As a part of post workshop activities, UWI Consulting Inc. and ICTSD will be developing and distributing a publication based on the presentations delivered during the sessions.