Achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can seem link “a staggering proposition” for resource-starved small island developing States, but in Trinidad and Tobago, an “inexorable spirit” is helping the country get closer to realizing the challenging targets.
Following the death of a baby during an interception at sea off the southeast coast of the island of Trinidad on Sunday, UN agencies have expressed their deep sadness and called for stronger measures to protects refugees and migrants.
Leaders from the Caribbean, in pre-recorded addresses to the UN General Assembly, stressed that their small economies are largely dependent on one or just a few industries, and called for strengthened global cooperation and financing mechanisms to overcome the health crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and recover from its massive socio-economic fallout.
Conserving marine resources takes centre stage this week at the first-ever Ocean Conference being held at UN Headquarters in New York.
Dianne Penn recently travelled to Trinidad and Tobago and learned how a group called Nature Seekers, which has received UN funding, is protecting leatherback turtles which previously were butchered for their meat or even just for fun.
Leatherback turtles get their name from their soft shell and are the biggest turtle species on Earth, weighing up to 2,000 pounds.
A global conference on protecting oceans and marine resources is “a dream come true” for the Caribbean, according to the man who keeps the region informed about UN priorities.
Juan Miguel Diez, Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) for the Caribbean Area, said the UN Ocean Conference is especially significant to countries there because they rely on the sea for economic, recreational and other reasons.
The ocean is the “main player” in Caribbean tourism and this “fragile resource” must be protected.
That’s the opinion of the Director of Sustainable Tourism for the 33-member Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Julio Orozco.
Mr Orozco is based in Trinidad and Tobago which is among the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which depend on the sea for economic survival.
A woman who was once called crazy for protecting sea turtles from poachers has helped to make her community a model for marine conservation in the Caribbean.
Suzan Lakhan Baptiste is Managing Director of Nature Seekers, a non-profit conservation group in the fishing village of Matura in Trinidad and Tobago, where female leatherback turtles come to lay their eggs between April and August.
Ms Lakhan Baptiste encountered ridicule and resistance when she first began standing up for the turtles nearly 30 years ago.