As the Caribbean is in the midst of yet another period of drought, we are reminded of the harsh reality that urgent action is needed to address climate change. Civil society organisations (CSOs) are poised to play a key role in enhancing our understanding about what is climate change, how it will affect us and what we can do. On March 16-17, representatives from five CSOs in Trinidad and Tobago participated in a two-day workshop designed to enhance their capacity for effective communication about climate change.
The five CSOs at the workshop were the Caribbean Youth Environment Network Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (CYENTT), the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), Environment Tobago (ET), the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP), and the Turtle Village Trust (TVT). These organisations are already conducting important education and awareness programmes, for example targeting schools and youth. They also engage in the development of national policies and programmes to address climate change and participate in global fora such as the UN climate change conference held in Paris in December 2015.
One participant liked “The interactive nature of the sessions and the fact that we are learning from each other.” Peer sharing and support was a key strategy used in the workshop to help to strengthen the work and effectiveness of these five CSOs.
During the workshop, Kishan Kumarsingh, Head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit, Environmental Policy Planning Division in the Ministry of Planning, shared key information on the implications for Trinidad and Tobago of the outcome of the Paris climate change conference, as well as some of the ways CSOs can get involved in supporting government efforts to implement the National Climate Change Policy. The CSOs also increased their existing knowledge of climate change trends and mapped the main impacts on different areas where they worked across Trinidad and Tobago.
The five CSOs also started to work on ways to better communicate information about climate change to raise awareness and to influence policy. They started working on climate change communication plans for their organisations, based on the objectives and messages related to climate change they wish to convey to their identified target audiences. CANARI will provide coaching to all five organisations while they continue refining the climate change communication plans with other members of the CSOs.
This workshop was held as one of the activities under the project “Climate ACTT: Action by Civil society in Trinidad and Tobago to build resilience to climate change” which aims to strengthen the capacity of five CSOs in Trinidad and Tobago to internationally accepted levels of best practice in two areas: institutional (organisational) strengthening; and technical capacity to deliver programmes/projects related to climate change adaptation and resilience. CANARI is implementing and managing this project in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and BHP Billiton Trinidad and Tobago.
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for more than 20 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, capacity building and fostering regional partnerships.