ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES THE HONOURABLE RAMONA RAMDIAL ON THE OCCASION OF
Good Morning, I wish to thank the Institute of Marine Affairs, for inviting me here this morning to address you on the occasion of the Commissioning of the Marine Re-circulating System , for the cultivation of Pacific white or white legged shrimp, and the launch of theÂ Jumpstart Aquaculture Programme.
We at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources are gratified to be involved in the Commissioning, of this marine re-circulating shrimp production system. This latest research initiative of the IMA, is yet, another manifestation, of our Government’s commitment, to implementing the programmes articulated in its 2010 Manifesto. This project is consistent with the Fifth Pillar of Interconnected Development, and the creation of a “More Diversified, Knowledge Intensive Economy”, with the focus on food production and food security. Our Government has been resolute in it is efforts, to significantly reduce our country’s annual food import bill, which now stands at TT$4 billion, in order to arrest the haemorrhage of foreign exchange from our economy. Sectoral policies have enabled the implementation of programmes and projects, towards achieving the goal of food and nutrition security, job creation, rural development and the elimination of poverty, and economic growth and prosperity for all, within a sustainable environment.
SMALL STATES BIG STAKES
World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action. The UN General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to celebrate the contributions that this group of countries and territories has made to the world. This year, the theme for World Environment Day “Raise your voice not the sea levels” focuses on SIDS. But what are SIDS? SIDS are low-lying coastal countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on international trade, and fragile environments. Currently, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs lists 52 small island developing states which include countries of the Caribbean such as Jamaica, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Perhaps one of the most potent problems facing SIDS is sea level rise. Sure enough, the notion of Trinidad sinking has been well publicized but we are not sinking- a more sinister faith awaits us, we are becoming a causality of the worldwide problem of climate change. Global warming, climate change and sea level rise seem to be inextricably linked. According to Greenpeace, around 23% of the worlds’ population lives in the near coastal zone and the densities in these areas are about three times higher than the global average. Agricultural land and infrastructure also tend to be concentrated in the coastal zone, so any rise in sea-level can have significant and profound effects on economies and living conditions.