In January 2023, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago submitted a technical legal assistance request under the Montevideo Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law, for the review of the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 35:05 (“EM Act”) of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, the request was to assess and identify areas for amendment, in an effort to better align the EM Act with issues of global environmental concern.
It is hoped that the proposed review of the EM Act, once finalized, will provide a national legal framework that responds to the emerging environmental issues and the scale of the triple planetary crisis, in a manner that is inclusive, considers scientific-based decision making and strengthens environmental institutions.
UNEP carried out a legal review of the EM Act, culminating in a legal brief that identifies potential areas to improve environmental rule of law at the national level, in line with good governance and principles of environmental law. Acknowledging the national circumstances and capacity of the country, the brief was informed by international legal developments such as the recognition of the right to a clean, safe and sustainable environment, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the ongoing negotiations to establish a legal instrument on plastic pollution and, among others, good legislative practices in other regions and countries. The brief covered diverse issues, including alignment to the national environmental policy, integration of climate change matters, enhancement of pollution provisions, including plastic pollution, and strengthening of environmental impact assessments, public participation, compliance and enforcement measures.
Trinidad and Tobago: Maurice Wishart, Manager Legal Services Department - Environmental Management Authority (Montevideo Programme V National Focal Point)
UNEP: Renée Gift, Legal Officer, Montevideo Coordination and Delivery Unit