July was ‘Climate Diplomacy Month’ for the Delegation Trinidad and Tobago as it collaborated with the United Nations and two key environmental NGOs – IAMovement and the Cropper Foundation – to host a series of related events. Entitled Islands of Hope, Protecting and Restoring Our World for Future Generations, the month-long initiative was in an effort to draw attention to the climate crisis and environmental degradation in Trinidad and Tobago, foster dialogue and cooperation with partners and to highlight local success stories and inspire further action. The initiative was also undertaken in the context of the UN@75 observance, to help to reinforce the importance of collective action/multilateralism to tackle the world’s most pressing problems.
Three events/activities took place over the course of the month:
- A ‘Watch Party’ featuring the screening of two short films: Kokota, and Metivier in Paramin. The first film, based on a GCCA+ project, centred on the people of a tiny island off the coast of Tanzania and their battle to overcome the negative consequences of climate change and deforestation. Metivier in Paramin is an IAMovement production about that organization’s work using Vetiver grass as a way to combat deforestation and erosion in a local farm community. Both films illustrated the use of innovative and practical methods to overcome the climate challenges faced by each community. A brief moderated dialogue followed the screenings.
- A month-long Youth Mentorship Programme to encourage youth innovation and activism in the battle against climate change and environmental degradation featured the involvement of twenty-three young people from five secondary schools working in teams on their own creative solutions to the climate challenges facing the country. Throughout the month, specially chosen climate /environmental activists mentored the young people. The groups then presented their completed projects to the Delegation, their teachers and mentors and each other via videoconference.
- A final high-level dialogue/panel discussion entitled, Mapping the Way Forward on Climate Action in a Post-Covid World. The diverse panel of experts included:
- Ms Vashtie Dookiesingh - Private Finance Operations, Senior Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank
- Mr Glen Goddard - Environmental Advisor, Area Environmental Operations, BPTT
- Mr Kishan Kumarsingh, Head, Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit, Ministry of Planning and Development
- Mr. Maarten Spiljard, Regional Director, Marine Services, Peterson Integrated Logistics and President EUROCHAMTT
- Mr Floris Vermeulen, European Investment Bank, Desk for the Southern and Eastern Caribbean
Due to the pandemic, the first and final events were held virtually and livestreamed via the Delegation’s Facebook page. Invited guests, as well as featured panellists, included key experts from EU institutions, international organizations, leaders in business and industry, government and related agencies, local authorities, NGOs, financial institutions and the private sector.
The initiative also included a social media component. Throughout July, the Delegation’s social media pages were used to highlight a number of climate and environmental issues. Over the course of the month, through organic reach combined with boosts of selected posts, more than 18,000 persons were reached on Facebook, including over 2000 post engagements, and which resulted in notable increases in both likes and followers of the page.
Read our feature article: covid-19_presents_an_opportunity_to_do_better_for_our_planet.pdf