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Trinidad and Tobago Struggles to Meet its Biodiversity Targets

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, Jewel Fraser finds out more about challenges facing Trinidad and Tobago as it seeks to meet its Aichi biodiversity targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Mar 17 2020 (IPS) - Trinidad and Tobago, like many other signatories to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, had made commitments in 2010, to achieve several biological diversity targets during the decade 2011 to 2020, commonly referred to as the Aichi targets. However, achieving most of those targets continues to be a work in progress.

Kishan Kumarsingh, head of Multilateral  Environmental  Agreements  at Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Planning and Development tells Voices from the Global  South that the government is keen on achieving the targets, however, in view of the economic benefits the country expects to  derive  from having healthy biodiversity.

In 2016, in its fifth national report to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, Trinidad and Tobago estimated that coastal protection services provided by coral reefs, mangroves and marshes were worth nearly $50 million annually to the country, while the forests in Trinidad’s famous Northern Range were estimated to provide soil retention services valued at as much as $620 million annually, representing nearly seven percent of central government annual revenues. A more recent study completed with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the U.N. suggests that communities close to forests enjoy a 30 percent increase in their annual income due to forest-related employment.

Though biodiversity in Trinidad and Tobago is coming under increasing pressure, Kumarsingh says the hope is to incorporate the economic value derived from biological diversity and ecosystem services into the country’s national development plans.

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, IPS Caribbean correspondent Jewel Fraser learns more about Trinidad and Tobago’s challenges with regard to achieving these sustainable biodiversity goals.

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