Five civil society organizations (CSOs) in Trinidad and Tobago are starting 2017 ready to tackle climate change through raising awareness, advocating for strong policies and action, and implementing practical adaptation projects guided by assessments of what are the key vulnerabilities and priorities for resilience building.
The five CSOs – Caribbean Youth Environment Network Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (CYENTT), Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), Environment Tobago, Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP), and Turtle Village Trust (TVT) – have been participating in the “Climate ACTT: Action by Civil Society in Trinidad and Tobago to Build Resilience to Climate Change” project, which aimed to build the capacity of five CSOs in Trinidad and Tobago to deliver programs/projects related to climate change adaptation and resilience.
Over the last 16 months, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) implemented and managed this project in collaboration with Conservation International and with support from BHP Billiton Trinidad and Tobago.
The Climate ACTT project wrapped up in December 2016, with a final evaluation workshop to assess results of the project, facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences among the beneficiary CSOs and catalyze partnerships and new initiatives for climate change adaptation and resilience in Trinidad and Tobago. Overall the Climate ACTT project was found to be a resounding success at enhancing the capacity of the five CSOs to undertake climate adaptation work.
One participant in the final evaluation workshop acknowledged “the sense of something starting as opposed to something ending.” “This was the seed sown for the growth of the big tree,” added another participant.
All five CSOs felt energized and ready to expand their work on climate change to help to address the impacts that are already being felt in communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago. Each CSO had participated in training and implemented a practical adaptation project that laid a foundation for exciting avenues of work moving forward. A few highlights were:
- Caribbean Youth Environment Network Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (CYEN-TT) will build the capacity of youth so that they are aware of the impacts of climate change and have a stronger voice to call for urgent action
- Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC) will educate coastal residents in north-east Tobago about the impacts of climate change on their communities and what needs to be done to adapt.
- Environment Tobago (ET) will conduct vulnerability assessments of coastal areas in south-east Tobago and collaborate with government, private sector and residents to identify what are the priority actions needed to build resilience to the impacts of climate change on these areas.
- Fondes Amandes Reforestation Project (FACRP) will partner with universities to expand its research on what tree species are resilient to climate change and therefore best suited for ongoing reforestation in the western Northern Range in areas destroyed by annual fires.
- Turtle Village Trust (TVT) will educate coastal communities in north-east Trinidad and Tobago about the impacts of climate change on sea turtles and coastal and marine ecosystems and what needs to be done to adapt.
At the evaluation workshop, the CSOs also engaged with invited partners from government, international agencies, and private sector donors for a highly interactive round of group presentations and “speed dating” to discuss potential future areas of collaboration. Responses from the invited partners included “smitten” and “very proud”, and before leaving they urged the participating CSOs to be proactive in initiating their “second dates” to discuss specific opportunities for collaboration on climate adaptation initiatives moving forward.