Supporting Trinidad and Tobago’s
Transition to a Sustainable Blue Economy
The Sustainable Blue Economy Transition Framework Rapid Readiness Assessment Workshop was hosted
at the Institute of Marine Affairs on October 18-19, The workshop, which was opened by the Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development, was attended by stakeholders from across government, academia, non-governmental organisations and private sector with interest in fostering a sustainable blue economy for Trinidad and Tobago.
Across the world, there is growing awareness about the blue economy as a potential source of economic
diversification and growth. The blue economy construct centres on developing ocean-based activity while emphasising improved human well-being, social justice and equity, ensuring conservation of natural resources and ecological sustainability. Currently, the approaches to ocean governance are fragmented and non-strategic, generating outcomes in which economic development can result in long-lasting damage to the social fabric of coastal communities, as well as to ocean and coastal ecosystems. Transitioning to a Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) can support progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and preserve the ocean’s environmental, social and economic benefits for future generations.
As part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) work to promote and enable a SBE, UNEP has developed a prototype Sustainable Blue Economy Transition Framework to support countries and stakeholders to identify and develop tangible actions and opportunities to transition towards a SBE.
To assess a nation’s readiness to embark on the transition to a SBE, a ‘Rapid Readiness Assessment’ (RRA) has been developed by the project partners: Howell Marine Consulting (HMC), the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), and the University of Portsmouth (UoP), in partnership with UNEP. The project is being coordinated under the Commonwealth Blue Charter programme and the Governments of Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua & Barbuda have agreed to trial the RRA, receive the results, and work with expert analysts to better understand the possible next steps for a SBE transition.
The purpose of the workshop was to support Trinidad & Tobago to:
• Collectively understand the current situation in relation to a Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE)
• Identify direction of travel and key steps needed to improve the existing Blue Economy
• Assess readiness for taking forward the Transition Framework approach
• Develop a plan of enabling actions to advance the transition.
The pilot RRAs will consider the following indicators of readiness:
• Institutional infrastructure & culture
• Laws and policies
• Sustainable finance
• Stakeholder engagement and coalitions
• Data, baselines, monitoring & analysis
• Transformative strategies
Through a series of engagements, including virtual and in-country stakeholder workshops and interviews and informed by desk-based analysis, the RRA process will result in individual country SBE readiness assessment reports which will:
• Identify the need for change (what the SBE-TF can do for the nation); and,
• Propose actions to reach a state of readiness; or,
• Identify enabling actions, resources and next steps needed to start the SBE-TF process.
By: Dr Rahanna Juman, Director (Ag.)