Participants at the recently concluded Intersessional Forum for Ministers of Environment from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) at the Barbados Hilton Resort. (GP)

The recently concluded Intersessional Forum for Ministers of Environment from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has been described as having a “high level of significant participation and interaction” from Caribbean states and various technical support agencies.

Speaking to the media after the closing session of the forum, Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, stated that “the last two days have been very productive”.

He went on to add that out of the 33 countries invited, 26 attended the meeting, and said it was believed that the forum had one of the largest turnouts of Caribbean countries, since its inception in 1972.

Minister Prescod informed the media that the concluded forum had reviewed the progress of implementation of the decisions made at the 21st Meeting of the Forum in October 2018, namely decisions one to four, which looked at chemicals, marine litter and waste management; climate change; sustainable consumption and production; and innovative solutions to enhance the benefits of biodiversity.

The forum also discussed the Buenos Aires Declaration on matters such as environmental data framework and the development of environmental law, environmental dimensions of small island developing states, environmental law issues, including the new legal instrument on “access to information”, the UN decade on ecosystem restoration, and strengthening resilience to environmental disasters and emergencies.

During the last day of the forum, the meeting was linked to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Africa, and delegates were informed that at the upcoming fifth UN Environment Assembly session, to be held in Nairobi next year, will have as its theme Scaling-up/Implementation of Nature Base Solutions for a Clean Environment and Sustainable Development.

The President and Chair stated: “Since this [forum] was not a decision making meeting, the conclusions will be developed further for consideration by the ministers at the 22nd Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean, to held in Barbados in November 2020.

UNEP’s Regional Director, Leo Heileman, in his assessment of the forum stated: “I was very pleased with the organization and the process, the leadership and the level of participation.  It was very substantive; it was very forward thinking, very visionary….  It was looking at how current programmes evolve or develop that strengthen the region’s or the country’s ability to deal with the issues, not only on an individual basis, but on a cohesive, collective basis.”

Mr. Heileman added that the information discussed was pertinent and significant to the people of the region, and the conclusions drawn and recommendations derived from the forum “would feed into the ministerial process which will then go to the broader global process … [which] will have a much wider impact not only in our region, but at the global level”.

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