The programme on capacity building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries resulted from a partnership between the European Commission (EC), the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Secretariat), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The aim of this Programme is to empower key stakeholders to address environmental challenges and to reap the benefits of improved environmental management at the national and regional levels.
Throughout the first two phases of the programme, environmental management issues were mainstreamed into institutions and national development plans of a large number of Caribbean ACP countries. The programme has promoted an integrated and synergistic approach to effectively implement the relevant Conventions on biodiversity, chemicals and waste management. The need to continue this effort has been strongly expressed by evaluators as well as by all the partners involved in the programme. The previous phases of the programme had a strong focus on developing national legislative frameworks and strategies to translate multilateral commitments into naitonal commitments. For example, through a wide regional consultative process led under the programme, the Caribbean Hub developed the first ever regional Biodiversity Strategy for CARICOM member states.
The third phase would therefore, continue this work by implmenting interventions that will support countries in the uptake of this strategy to deliver on biodiversity commitments. Overall, the third phase will provide an opportunity to consolidate the achievements of previous Phases and focus on effective implementaiton, enforcement, monitoring and reporting of MEAs and related commitments in the biodiversty and chemicals and waste clusters.
The CARICOM Secretariat has received USD1.455,002 million in financing contribution from the European Union, to finance the implementation of a 4-year Action for Capacity Building related to MEAs project. Specifically, the project’s expected results include the following:
The overall objective of the action is to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the attainment of environmental sustainability in the Caribbean ACP countries. The programme will promote the enforcement of environmental treaties and goals in Caribbean ACP countries by way of influencing policies and legislative frameworks for Caribbean ACP countries to effectively implement MEAs and related commitments in the chemicals and waste, marine and biodiversity cluster of MEAs. The illustrated SDGs will be addressed by this programme.
The specific objective is to strengthen the implementation of MEAs in the chemicals and waste and biodiversity clusters at the national and regional levels in ACP countries through the development of stronger compliance and enforcement measures. This will contribute to support ACP countries in addressing the challenges associated with the sound management of chemicals and waste, and loss of biodiversity.
CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
The priority is to provide assistance to the ACP countries to implement selected chemicals and waste and biodiversity MEAs at the national and regional levels. Activities have been pre-identified based on (i) consultations conducted with CARICOM national focal points and Senior Policy Officials with oversight of environmental management in the Caribbean during Phase II; (ii) recommendations from the mid-term evaluation of Phase II; and (iii) on a first needs assessment conducted with regional implementing partners in 2017. The activities will focus on supporting the effective integration of environmental concerns addressed in the MEAs into national and regional policies and laws. This also includes strengthening negotiation skills, awareness raising, support to the development of information systems, environmental assessments and sharing of relevant experiences. Phase III is expected to enhance the focus on implementation at the national level. South-South cooperation in the form of exchange of knowledge, lessons learnt, participation of the Hubs into each other’s activities as frequently as possible will be an important aspect of Phase III.