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Major environmental issues facing the CARICOM region will be the central topic of discussion at the 37th Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Sustainable Development, which begins today in Georgetown, Guyana. Dialogue will seek to consolidate the region’s positions on environmental issues as preparation for international negotiations.

The Barbados delegation is led by Minster of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn. The other members are: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Lionel Weekes; Senior Environmental Officer, Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Travis Sinckler; and Special Advisor to the Ministry of Environment, Gordon Bispham.

Barbados has been nominated to Chair both segments of the conference; the Meeting of Officials and the Ministerial Session. The conference will culminate on September 2.

The 37th Special COTED is a crucial gathering of the CARICOM region to allow full dialogue on major environmental issues. ??It precedes the United Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio + 20 which takes place in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, in June 2012.?? It will mark 20 years after the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, or the Rio Conference.

In addition to Rio + 20 and its preparatory meetings, the 37th Special COTED will prepare the CARICOM region for international negotiations at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Desertification and Drought to be held in South Korea in October 2011 and the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Durban, South Africa, in December this year.


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