Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2013 Contents A41
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Development must go hand in hand with envi-
ronmental considerations for sake of the world s
population and future generations.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Division of Environmental Policy Implementation
(DEPI) deputy director Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
made the point during an exclusive interview with
the T&T Guardian earlier this month in Montego
Bay, Jamaica during UNEP s second Global Con-
ference on Land-Ocean Connections (GLOC-2.)
Mrema explained that while governments seek
to develop their countries it is equally important
that consideration be given to environment and
"For countries like Jamaica, the ocean is where
the food is, it is where the lifeline is and the gov-
ernment cannot ignore.
"What we are saying is yes, development is
important we encourage government to do that
for its population, but it must be able to do it
tantamount (and) together with environmental
considerations," she contended.
Mrema called for all global citizens to work
together to take action on the ground to be able
to better preserve and protect the marine envi-
ronment. She said countries must be proactive
rather than reactive in their approach to environ-
"It will cost the countries more by being reactive,
because by the time we react to the pollution,
damage will be created and some of the damage
is irreparable, we cannot go back. We (had) better
be proactive in action and mitigate. Mitigation
must be in place to protect the environment. The
impact will be long term and to recover might not
be possible," Mrema stressed.
The DEPI deputy director said that it is critical
for countries, especially Caribbean nations, to make
the environment a part of their developmental
plans to ensure its preservation for future gener-
"Where there is environmental impact let (it)
be assessed. Remedial measures, mitigation meas-
ures be identified so that development and mit-
igation go together to end up with a win/win sit-
It will be benefical for the country, because then
the development will be for long term as opposed
to short term," she said.
Mrema suggested that when the environment
is completely spoiled then there will be nothing
to benefit from, "but building environmental con-
siderations from the beginning, early enough in
development (the environment) will stay in a long
The GLOC 2, which was attended by scientists,
environmentals, government officials and non-
governmental environmental agencies, focused on
emerging environmental issues.
The three main themes of the conference were;
marine litter, nutrient pollution and wastewater
management. Mrema said the intention of the con-
ference was to facilitate a platform where various
interest groups could meet and share different
experiences and lessons learned.
"In so doing they are helping to identify the way
forward and solutions, in terms of how do we deal
with the pollution in our oceans," she said.
Mrema admitted that there is still a lot of work
to be done to get people to change their behaviour
towards the environment and that, she said, comes
with environmental awareness.
"The awareness is a continuous process. Children
are born and growing so it is a continuous pro-
gramme that will never end," she said.
Mrema admitted that funding for environmental
programmes at the UN is a challenge.
"UNEP faces more challenges. Unlike many other
UN agencies our financial stability depends on the
will of governments, will in the sense that 100 per
cent of our funding is voluntary contribution and
not assessed contributions.
So with voluntary contributions it is difficult to
plan on a long term. We are at the mercy of donor
countries and friendly countries, so that explains
the challenge our organisation faces," she explained.
However Mrema said with the limited resources
at UNEP and DEPI are able to work with various
organisations on addressing critical environmental
More thought needed
for world environment
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)
deputy director Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.
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