CARICOM General Counsel commends Guyana for ratifying Environmental Agreements
General Counsel at the CARICOM Secretariat Ms. Safiya Ali says Guyana has set an example for the Region by being the only CARICOM country so far to ratify two relatively new environmental agreements: the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Ms. Ali was speaking at the opening ceremony of a National Customs Workshop on Multilateral Environmental Agreements that the CARICOM Secretariat is hosting in Guyana. The seminar is being delivered under the Project for Capacity-Building in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries in partnership with the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Guyana is leading the field, demonstrating a strong recognition of the importance of MEAs, not only for protecting this country’s priceless natural resources, but also for combating international environmental crime” Ms. Ali said.
She further said that international environmental crime is no longer an emerging issue. According to the General Counsel, illegal trade in ozone depleting substances is a multi-million dollar business and is projected to grow as trade restrictions become more stringent. She said illegal trade in environmentally sensitive goods, such as wildlife and hazardous chemicals, often involves organized criminal networks operating across borders.
European Union Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Robert Kopecky, who spoke at the event said the workshop was happening while there were negotiations of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and on-going negotiations on sustainable development goals. He said European Union Member States were strongly committed to supporting the strengthening of the international environment and governance. He said that he hoped that at the end of the workshop, participants would have a clear understanding of the practical aspects of enforcing Multilateral Environment Agreements as part of their normal duties.