More than 100 civil society organizations (CSOs) operate in Trinidad and Tobago, working to protect their communities and the natural environment. These CSOs play a crucial role in achieving our national environmental goals and the goals of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) to which we are committed.
Indeed, CSOs provide an invaluable link between high-level politics and work on the ground, in order to make meaningful progress in the fight to protect our natural environment. They work on a wide range of environmental issues such as
- Conservation of biodiversity
- Environmental education
- Climate change
- Disaster risk reduction
- Waste Management
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is one such organization. It is a non-profit technical institute dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment throughout the Caribbean. CANARI is one of many CSOs working with multisectoral stakeholders, including rural community groups, academic institutions, the private and public sectors, and other NGOs, to safeguard and protect our natural environment.
CANARI Executive Director and General Manager Ms. Nicole Leotaud recently spoke about the work CANARI and CSOs are doing to support environmental stewardship and meet MEA commitments:
“A recent survey revealed that over 125 CSOs are actively working to support the implementation of MEAs in various areas. They are producing results and changes on the ground in a truly meaningful way that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable and priority needs. “
Ms. Leotaud went on to give a few examples of the type of work being done with biodiversity and climate change. In the first case, individuals are helped to understand how they can make sustainable use of nature and biodiversity and help protect them. With climate change, she said: “CSOs play a key role in delivering this local response to climate change. Climate change cannot only be discussed in international meetings – we need to change what we do every day. CANARI therefore works with local communities to make community and natural adaptation to climate change.
To dig deeper, Ms. Leotaud gave an example where CANARI has done a lot of grassroots work with communities and helped them understand how climate change is affecting them and their community. During this effort, CANARI created and used media such as maps and videos to help analyze the impacts of climate change and show what the community’s response should be, including what to ask from the government. and other partners to help them.
These partnerships are essential to ensure the sustainable use of our country’s resources. CSOs need to be more fully involved in the implementation of MEAs as this is not the sole responsibility of government. Civil society has a crucial role to play in areas such as research, engaging the public in independent dialogue on key environmental issues, and communicating at the local level on sustainable lifestyles to help foster policy change. behavior in communities.
According to Ms. Leotaud, “We really need to take more collaborative approaches with CSOs, including at the local level. Not just consulting with them, but working with them as partners, giving them roles in the solution – how do we solve climate change, protect biodiversity and fight pollution. CSOs on the ground have the answers. I would really like to encourage people to recognize the important role that civil society plays and to think about how they can get more support to do even more important work.
As always, for up-to-date information on these and other environmental issues and activities at T&T, you can join the MEA focal point network by filling out the Google form available on the Policy Division’s Instagram and Facebook pages. and TT environmental planning.