«Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 Ministry of Planning and the Economy October 2011 Table of Contents PREFACE BY THE MINISTER OF PLANNING AND ...»
Planning for the Economy, Supporting Enlightened Development Practices Physical planning shapes the country we live in and, therefore, the environment in which the economic and social transformation will take place. It is vital for the spatial articulation of socio-economic and environmental goals and for achieving sustainable outcomes. Successful implementation of plans and policies must be linked to a system of planning that is transparent, inclusive, and responsive while ensuring the sustainability of development. In Trinidad and Tobago, physical planning is governed by the Town and Country Planning Act, (Chapter 35:01) which was proclaimed in 1969. Recognising that there are deficiencies in its current administration, legislation will be introduced shortly that will significantly alter the way in which planning will be undertaken.
Through the proposed legislation – the Planning and Development of Land (PADL) Bill, the ministerial model of accountability to Parliament will be maintained but there will be substantial delegation of powers. Amongst the provisions of the PADL Bill are the establishment of a Multi-stakeholder Planning Commission; delegation of development planning and development control to Municipal Corporations; integration and coordination of planning and building approvals at the municipal level; establishment of a statutory “Chief Building Inspectorate” at the level of the Commission, to provide a technical oversight function to the Municipal Corporations; provision of a “One-stop Shop” of statutory agencies involved in the development regulatory regime, and, the creation of a statutory appeal process to replace the current ad hoc procedures of appeals to the Minister.
Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 14 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 A Task Force has been appointed to undertake the technical review and provide support and advice for the updating of the PADL Bill which was last revised in 2001. It is expected that this Bill will be laid in Parliament by the end of 2011.
In 1984, the first National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) became statutory, meaning that it prescribed how all land in Trinidad and Tobago was to be used and provided the broad policy framework within which more detailed regional and local area plans were to be prepared to guide development. Since that time, the physical landscape has changed considerably, brought on by population growth and changes in the country’s development thrusts while competing demands for the country’s limited land resources have become more critical. There is now an undeniably urgent need to prepare a new NPDP. To this end, the Task Force has also been mandated to make recommendations on the process of reviewing the NPDP. Preliminary work has commenced within the Town and Country Planning Division with a view to having it completed by September 2012.
The role of physical planning must be seen as more than simply land use and building controls.
It must extend to the shaping of liveable and inclusive communities, city centres and towns, economic spaces, the natural environment and the design and location of physical infrastructure. In this regard, it must balance socio-economic priorities with environmental limits and constraints and promote a pattern of development that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.
In addition to physical planning and a land use policy, in consultation with key stakeholders, a Building Code will be established to ensure adherence to construction standards in Trinidad and Tobago that are meaningful and enforceable.
SUSTAINING THE TRANSFORMATIONThe Importance of the Environment At the core of our social and economic development strategy lies a fundamental respect for the environment. Recognising the importance of balancing social and economic transformation with environmental conservation, the pivotal shift to ‘green’ policy planning will guarantee environmental security for future generations.
Protecting and conserving our natural resources is critical to advancing economic development and improving our quality of life. We must maintain a balance in economic activity that uses Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 15 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 our resources as productively as possible to provide the greatest possible socio-economic benefits. Maintaining the equilibrium between economic activity and the provision of social services requires adherence to a legislative and policy framework that governs the management of renewable and non-renewable environmental resources. Therefore, updating the National Environmental Policy to incorporate all recent international commitments will strengthen Trinidad and Tobago’s obligation to the global community and enhance the consistency and integrity of policy and execution at home.
Increasing the productivity and economic contribution of each sector cannot be isolated from environmental stewardship. Finalising draft legislation such as the Air Pollution Rules, the Solid and Hazardous Waste Rules and the Beverage Container Bill will ensure that companies and industries claim their responsibility for the protection of the environment and are fully aware of the consequences. Encouraging industries and companies to reduce their carbon footprint; increase their efficiency and conduct energy audits will also assist in this effort. Steps will also be taken to ensure that quarrying activities do not negatively impact water courses.
Meeting the challenge of satisfying the demands of a growing population for housing, schools and other supportive infrastructure requires collaborative efforts to ensure that resources are used efficiently. The new Land Use Policy will facilitate development in a coherent and sustainable manner that clearly identifies land use through zoning of agricultural, commercial, residential and conservatory spaces. Conservation of our environment to secure the needs of future generations will be expanded through the amendment of the Green Fund legislation to include the restoration of areas that have been damaged by poor environmental practices. It will also allow Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) access to the Fund for reforestation and conservation purposes. The country’s biological resources will be conserved for future generations through new administrative arrangements for their management namely the implementation of the National Parks and Recreation Authority. The setting up of the Authority will protect environmentally sensitive areas while simultaneously creating green spaces for recreational activities thus enhancing the quality of life of citizens.
The new Forest Policy and the new Protected Areas Policy will be implemented through the proposed Forest and Protected Areas Management Authority.
Climate Change Climate change is globally recognised as the single environmental issue of the 21st Century that poses unprecedented threats to mankind caused by increases in concentration of greenhouse Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 16 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 gases in the atmosphere. In spite of its minuscule absolute greenhouse gas emissions, Trinidad and Tobago is committed to playing its part as a responsible member of the global community.
Towards this end, the Government has adopted a Climate Change Policy, the implementation of which will increase the use of new and innovative technologies that have lower levels of emissions; encourage the use of clean energy technology and renewable energy; and, promote the adoption of more energy-efficient technologies and practices. The adoption of the National Climate Change Policy now sets the stage for Trinidad and Tobago to implement action with
respect to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Over the medium-term, the Government will undertake the following initiatives:
• The ‘Greening’ of the Priority Bus Route through the conversion of street lights and traffic lights to use solar power and the deployment of electric passenger buses where economically feasible
• Mainstreaming of the climate policy into the national development policy framework
• Outfitting of the police surveillance bays along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway with green technology such as solar lighting Within the upcoming fiscal year, the Government aims to become a ‘green business’ in order to do its part to support the conservation of the environment. As such, a Green Government Policy will be developed to enable the reduction of critical financial resources in terms of Government operations by reducing consumables and the use of energy. Towards this end, the Government will begin the ‘greening’ of its operations through using recycled paper at all Government offices and double sided printing and photocopying where possible; and ensuring that all buildings procured for Government offices by the Properties and Real Estate Division are equipped with green technologies such as lighting fixtures with energy efficient bulbs; water saving devices on taps and toilets; and air conditioning and fire extinguishing systems that do not use ozone depleting gases.
Being Prepared for Disaster, Managing Risk While the implementation of land use policies will facilitate appropriate land use, the impact of natural disasters on the economic growth of a country can have dire consequences. As such, Government will strengthen this country’s capacity not only to deal with emergency response and reconstructive measures but also increase and improve preventative measures where disaster can be avoided. Instilling a culture of safety, public education and awareness while addressing comprehensive disaster risk management will be guided by a Comprehensive Disaster Management Policy Framework.
Good and Effective Governance The transformation effort will be guided and fortified by the tenets of good and effective governance. Government will ensure that ‘the Voice of the People’ is heard and taken into account through a participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable and inclusive process that follows the rule of law. Soliciting comments from the individual, the family, the community and the wider population will effectively ensure direct citizen participation. Enabling citizens to make contributions and recommendations through the establishment of an internet portal, ‘E-view’ will act as a facilitator.
Labour and Civil Society Ensuring effective representation that reflects the views of the population requires the involvement of, labour and civil society. The Economic Development Board and the Civil Society Board (CSB) will be the main instruments for the involvement of the population on key decisions related to the national sustainable development agenda.
Strategic Plans of Ministries In the area of transparency and accountability, Government will ensure that Ministries and Departments prepare and implement Strategic Plans and submit periodic reports to Parliament on their activities. Ministers will be held accountable for the performance of their Ministries and ensure timely submission of annual reports to the relevant Joint Select Committee. Priority will also be given to reforming the public procurement process and measures are to be undertaken to give effect to the recommendations contained in the White Paper on Reforming the Public Sector Procurement Regime.
Strengthening the operations of public institutions is a key focal point for the Government.
A major contributor to improving the effectiveness of the Public Service lies in its ability to develop and institutionalise mechanisms that allow for the development of clear policy directions from the Centre of Government and the alignment of the plans and programmes of all Ministries and Departments with these centrally developed guidelines.
Innovation for Lasting Prosperity 18 Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011 - 2014 Results Framework Government will adopt a collaborative approach to decision making in cross functional areas as it relates to the articulation of centrally developed guidelines, through the increased utilisation of inter-ministerial committees and working groups. Parallel to this is the need for greater emphasis on a results-oriented, customer/client focused Public Service that garners a culture of respect and a commitment to performance. Transforming Local Government services through the devolution of authority from Ministries to ensure increased efficiency and impact will be undertaken. Creating an environment that motivates and transforms the Public Service into a model for effective service delivery is also crucial.
PRIORITIES FOR ACTION OVER THE MEDIUM-TERM
In the context of the economic and social transformation envisaged, the following are identified as priorities for action in the first medium-term planning horizon (2011-2014):
1. Strengthening of the national database and information management system to influence national policy choices and to support evidence based decision making. This includes a comprehensive re-organisation of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and a more strategic harnessing and deployment of resources;
2. Completion of a comprehensive national land use policy in 2012, even as the land use policy for specific regions of Trinidad and Tobago are rolled out to support community development initiatives and objectives and the national sustainable development agenda. This will include reform of the Town and Country Planning Division and a comprehensive land development bill for Parliament; and
3. Alignment of Ministerial agendas for high impact within the framework of the sustainable development strategy outlined in this Medium-term Policy Framework 2011-2014 and in keeping with the seven (7) interconnected pillars of government policy.
These three (3) items above taken together will have a major impact on the shift in policy required to put Trinidad and Tobago on a sustainable development trajectory.
In addition, there will be concentrated focus, intensive effort and strategic interventions in order to effect the shift in policy required to create a safe society, a diversified economy, investment, entrepreneurial initiatives and growth with jobs.