Antigua-Barbuda clears arrears to regional programme

ST JOHN'S, Antigua: Antigua and Barbuda's Minister with responsibility for the environment, Harold Lovell, announced Friday that Antigua and Barbuda has cleared its outstanding arrears to the Jamaica-based Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), which is administered by the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

"I am extremely pleased that my government has finally removed this blot against the good name of Antigua and Barbuda by paying off this outstanding bill of US$183,000, which had accumulated since 1981 when we became a member of CEP," said Minister Lovell.

Harold Lovell

"I would like to thank our UN Ambassador Dr John W. Ashe for his diligence and persistence in making timely payments over the past four years to bring us to this point when we can truly say that this twin-island nation, which is universally recognized as a leader on matters pertaining to international environmental governance, does not owe a single penny to any of the UN's environment programmes," he added.

The Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), which is one of the UNEP administered regional seas programme, is managed by and for the countries of the Wider Caribbean Region through the Caribbean Action Plan. The CEP is a conglomerate of legislative, programmatic and institutional frameworks and entities working together in assisting the nations and territories of the Wider Caribbean Region to protect their marine and coastal environment and promote sustainable development.

The Caribbean Regional Co-ordinating Unit (CAR/RCU), located in Kingston, Jamaica, was created in 1986 and serves as Secretariat to the CEP. The CEP has three main sub-programmes: Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution (AMEP); Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW); and Communication, Education, Training and Awareness (CETA).

The implementation of the CEP is supported mainly by the Caribbean Trust Fund, established by the participating States and Territories. Currently, there are 28 members of the CEP and their active participation is ensured through regular Intergovernmental Meetings (IGM), Contracting Parties (COP) meetings and a Monitoring Committee (MONCOM) formed by representatives from nine states and territories. The IGM convenes every two years and is held jointly with the meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Cartagena Convention.

"I am extremely pleased that Antigua and Barbuda was unanimously endorsed by the member States to host the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Meeting of UNEP CAR/RCU this September, and I look forward to actively working with my fellow Ministers of Environment from the Wider Caribbean region to determining the content of the workplan and budget of the CEP, reviewing its progress and charting a course for the future," said Lovell.