Trinidad and Tobago has made history for the Caribbean once again.
Keima Gardiner, Waste Management Specialist at the Ministry of Planning and Development has been elected as the President of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations’ (UN’s) Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Gardiner is the first representative from the Caribbean region to ever serve in such a post since the Convention’s entry into force nearly two decades ago in 2004.
She has been Trinidad and Tobago’s lead negotiator on chemicals and waste since 2014, serving as the Head of Delegation for Trinidad and Tobago at the last five meetings of the COPs to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.
The Group of Latin American and the Caribbean (GRULAC) vested the confidence in Gardiner to serve as President by nominating her as the representative for the region, and she was subsequently elected by the 157 Parties of the Stockholm Convention in attendance at the last Meetings of the COPs.
Gardiner will serve as President, and by extension Head of the Bureau of the COPs for the Stockholm Convention, until the closure of the Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention (COP 11) in May 2023.
The Bureau reviews progress made in the implementation of the decisions adopted by the COP at its preceding meeting, as well as the work was undertaken during the intervening period by the main subsidiary body of the Convention, the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC).
She will also preside over the next meetings of the COPs for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, carded to take place in The Bahamas in 2023.
Keima Gardiner, Waste Management Specialist at the Ministry of Planning and Development
Chemicals addressed under these conventions are often carcinogenic, toxic or otherwise very dangerous to human health and the environment.
In her tenure as President, Gardiner will play a critical role in advancing global negotiations and galvanizing international action to hasten the eradication of these toxic chemicals to make the world a safer and healthier place for all.
Critical matters to be addressed under COP 11 for the Stockholm Convention include the looming 2025 deadline for elimination of one of the ‘dirty dozen’ chemicals listed under the Convention-polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), five new POPs to be proposed for listing and the need for adoption of the long outstanding non-compliance mechanism.
Gardiner possesses a combined sixteen years of academic training and professional experience in environmental management and policy development, and for the past nine years has managed the domestic implementation of the provisions under the three chemicals and waste conventions to which the country is a signatory.
She has also been key in the provision of technical support for the development and implementation of policies, legislation and initiatives on chemicals and waste in Trinidad and Tobago.
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