CARIFORUM Countries benefit from negotiation skills training workshop

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) — Nearly 40 regional junior environmental negotiators benefited from a five-day comprehensive training program, designed to strengthen their skills in negotiating Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).

The workshop, which ended on Friday, 1 June, in St Kitts and Nevis, was organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat with support from the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD), through the Caribbean Hub sub-component of the Capacity Building related to MEAs in African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The project is funded by the European Union and is coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The participants who were drawn from 12 CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic and Cuba expressed profound satisfaction with the content of the training. There was consensus that they had been equipped with knowledge and skills to understand better, how to use negotiation strategies to influence outcomes that were favorable to their countries.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Joy Hyvaerinen and Mr. Chad Carpenter, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD); Mr. Christopher Corbin, United Nations Environment Programme – Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR/RCU); Ms. Judith Ephraim, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science & Technology, Saint Lucia and Mr. Gilroy English from Gilroy English Associates.

Commenting on the conduct of the workshop FIELD Executive Director, Joy Hyvaerinen noted that the participants were leaving with tools and skills that would help them to understand negotiation texts that could shape their country’s compliance needs. In her opinion, a thorough understanding of the significance of MEAs and how they work would prepare Caribbean countries to participate in and comply with MEAs, which were pivotal to their sustainable development.

Caribbean countries are parties to approximately 100 MEAS. The most important ones addressed in the workshop include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1994), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1993), the Cartagena Convention (1986) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, 1994). However, over the years the Caribbean Region has been experiencing several challenges in fulfilling their obligations as signatories to MEAs.

Project Coordinator, Dr.Therese Yarde, explained that the challenges arose primarily because of inadequate human resources and skill-sets necessary to address increasingly complex scientific and technical issues. The workshop, she said, emphasized these specific MEAs in response to requests from Member States to focus on MEAs related to climate change, biodiversity and oceans governance.

She added that the project intended to “promote environmental sustainability in the Caribbean by building Member States’ capacity to implement and comply with their obligations under MEAs, there by resulting in sound and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.”

This is the second regional negotiations skills training held under the project, the first of which was held in Guyana in 2010 and was deemed a resounding success.

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