30/01/2012

First Steering Committee Meeting of the BCRC-Caribbean

The first meeting of the Steering Committee for the Basel Convention Regional Centre for the Caribbean Region was held on Monday 16th January 2012 from 9am to 11am via teleconference. The Steering Committee was established as mandated in Part III of Act No. 2 of 2008 of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as well as under Article VII of the Framework Agreement between the Secretariat of the Basel Convention and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Its primary role is to advise the Centre on the development and implementation of its activities relevant to its regional role and to enhance national support of its activities from the Contracting Parties served by the Centre.

The proceedings were chaired by the Director, Dr. Ahmad Khan, who participates ex officio in these meetings. There were 6 members present for the meeting including the representatives from the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. The Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, and the Chief of Conference Services and Governance Unit at the Secretariat, Mr. Nelson Sabogal, also participated ex officio in the meeting. Observers also attending the meeting including Ms. Shelley Soetosenojo of Suriname, Mr. Sherlin Brown of the Bahamas, Mr. Richard Laydoo, the Project Coordinator of the Green Fund Executing Unit of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment in Trinidad and Tobago and Mrs. Joy Creese, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.

Subsequent to the official commencement of the meeting, opening remarks were made by Ms. Kummer Peiry and Mrs. Creese, who delivered their remarks on behalf of the Secretariat of the Basel Convention and the Ministry of Housing and the Environment respectively. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Committee for the current biennium were elected during the proceedings. Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh, representative from Trinidad and Tobago, was appointed to the position of Chairperson, while Ms. Gillian Guthrie from Jamaica was chosen as the Vice-Chairperson.

Dr. Khan presented the Business Plan for the Centre for the biennium 2012-2013. During his presentation, he elaborated on the background behind the Centre and its current status, activities undertaken since its re-establishment, and the proposed workplan for 2012-2013, including the intended training courses to be delivered by the Centre. These courses are expected to include:
  • Training of customs officers for the legal framework, labelling and identification of hazardous wastes,
  • Policy and implementation strategy development for integrated waste management at a nationa level for statutory corporation managers and landfill operators, and
  • Business opportunities to be created from integrated waste management at a national scale for entrepreneurs.
The presentation also detailed some of the public-private partnerships to be embarked upon by the Centre. These are to include partnerships with science and academia, business sectors/trade and industry groups, and community groups and non-governmental organisations. Dr. Khan also elaborated on the Needs Assessment to be performed for all of the member states of the Centre as well as the Centre's first project to develop a Waste Oil Management System for Trinidad and Tobago.

There was consensus among the Steering Committee members that the plan was generally a good one, despite there being some reservations about the plan being an ambitious one, the costs involved in executing such a plan and the sources of funding. The performance of a Needs Assessment was welcomed by the members and deemed important by the members of the Secretariat. The training courses outlined, in particular those geared towards customs officers, were also thought to be a necessity for the region.

The discussion that followed the presentation of the Business Plan included several other comments which can be found in the detailed minutes of the meeting located on our Library page. All of the Steering Committee members have been invited to officially submit their comments on the Business Plan which are to be considered in the final document to be sent in to the Secretariat by March 31st 2012.