The Environmental Management Authority
In June 1995 the Environmental Management Authority was established by law and became fully functional in early 1996. It was created to provide a comprehensive and integrated framework for protecting, conserving and enhancing the environment of Trinidad and Tobago.
The need for such an agency becomes clear when one considers that there are presently fourty pieces of legislation addressing some aspect of environmental management and some twenty-eight government agencies involved in carrying out the various functions and activities related to environmental management.
The responsibilities of the new Authority include:
1. Building four core units essential to the delivery of the national programme:
- Pollution Prevention and Control Services
- Conservation and Planning Services
- Legal and Enforcement Services
- Information and Communication Services
2. Working with Participating Agencies
Meeting with Ministries and stutory bodies as a first step in harmonising and rationalizing responsibilities and laws so as to minmise duplication and overlap.
3. Working with Stakeholders
Meeting with NGOs, industry, consultants, educational institutions and other interested groups and individuals in order to identify issues and priorities and secure commitmants to help maintain a healthy and safe environment. (The EMA has, in fact, met with representatives of Environment TOBAGO and we presented them with a lengthy list of issues.)
4. Working with Regional and International Organisations
Identifying issues and priorities and defining requirements in terms of meeting the countries committments to conventions, treaties, agreements and programmes. Transfering this responsibility from the Ministry of Planning and Development. Identifying oppotunities for grant funding.
5. Reaching Out to the Public
Providing the people of Trinidad and Tobago with information and to assist them in making descisions beneficial for the environment. Designing a National Environmental Information System (NEIS).
6. Working to Protect, Enhance and Conserve the Environment
Preparing subsidiary legislation beginning with regulations and guidelines for new development projects; protection of environmentally sensitive species; the prevention and control of pollution from the petroleum sector; development of a national enviromental management plan.
Environment TOBAGO welcomes the establishment of this agency and hopes that it will be given the power and resources to enforce the protective legislation it is working to create.