Forestry Division receives UAVs / Drones
In 2017/2018 the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved funding for the medium sized project, “Capacity Development for Improved Management of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) for Global Environmental Benefits”, which was administered and executed by the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) of the Ministry of Planning and Development in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Several of the MEAs to which Trinidad and Tobago is signatory are centred on biodiversity conservation such as the Ramsar Convention, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Protocol (SPAW) and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) among others. In this context, the Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries is one of the primary agencies for the implementation of most of the biodiversity oriented MEAs to which Trinidad and Tobago is obligated. As a consequence, the National Sustainable Land Management Coordinating Committee – a Cabinet appointed body chaired by the EPPD – consulted with the Forestry Division about enhancing its field capabilities for surveying and monitoring of Forest Reserves and other Protected Areas.
Subsequently, under the Project it was agreed to procure a pair of Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs/Drones) as well as facilitate training for ten (10) officers in the operation of the UAVs to facilitate the Division in its activities. With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Division has faced a number of constraints in terms of personnel and other resources and so equipping the Forestry Division with UAVs was seen as a cost effective option to help overcome these challenges, whilst simultaneously enabling Trinidad and Tobago to meet its obligations under the various MEAs with greater efficiency and efficacy.
The official handover of the UAVs took place at the EPPD’s Offices on October 18th, 2021 with the Project Manager, Dr. Cindy Chandool delivering the equipment to the Deputy Conservator of Forests of the Forestry Division, Mr. Ameer Roopnarinesingh.