A message from Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, Minister of Labour and Small Enterprise Development in commemoration of International Day of Co-operatives

The Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development joins the Global Community in commemorating the 97th International Day of Co-operatives under the theme “Co-operatives for Climate Action.” This year’s theme highlights the role that Co-operatives can play locally, regionally and internationally in addressing climate change.

Our Earth’s climate is now changing faster than any other time in the history of modern civilization, unfortunately, as a result of human activities. In 2019, the levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere rose to disturbing new records and we experienced the second warmest year on record. My fellow citizens, with the increase in intensity of catastrophic hurricanes and typhoons, with lengthened dry seasons and massive forest fires, it is evident that climate change is a real and undeniable threat to every country in the world.

Climate change is disrupting national economies and affecting the livelihood of civilizations. As weather patterns change and sea levels rise, so must we as a nation change how we negatively affect the environment. We must rise and take the necessary steps to protect our planet through education, innovation and implementation of eco-friendly processes.

In 2015, Trinidad and Tobago joined the international community in the reframing of two agendas for the sustainable future of our planet. During the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development, countries adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals of which Goal 13 is Climate Action. With the historic adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we pledged along with 194 other countries to take important steps towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to strengthen our country’s resilience and ability to adapt to climate change.

The Co-operative Movement of Trinidad and Tobago plays a pivotal role in the promotion of local prevention and adaptation practices that can reduce the impacts of natural hazards and climate change.

I am confident that each and every Co-operative in our nation is willing and able to face the difficult challenges of climate change ahead. With years of experience, the Movement has demonstrated tenacity and an unrelenting dedication to universal values. The flexibility and versatility of Co-operatives, combined with the seven Co-operative Principles upon which the Movement stands, embedded many of the concepts that are currently associated with sustainable development.

In order to combat climate change, Co-operatives are encouraged to adjust their operations to be more environmentally friendly. This includes energy saving practices, the introduction of recycling bins, bio-degradable packaging and preservation of the marine environment, the implementation of paperless organisations and services to your members, and the development of eco-friendly products. Agricultural Co-operatives, are encouraged to identify and apply strategies suitable to our local conditions. A climate-smart agricultural approach which includes the management of resources of your farms, crops, livestock, aquaculture and fishery can result in an increase in production with the use of less resources while building resilience and conserving the local ecosystem.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago acknowledges and is grateful for the vital contribution that the Co-operative Movement is making toward, the rebuilding of our economy. Together we can implement recovery plans that are clean, green, healthy and safe as we aim to have a sustainable economy that benefits both people of our beloved Nation and the planet.

Happy International Day of Co-operatives.

May God Bless the Cooperative Movement.

May God Bless our Nation.


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