Panos Caribbean’s long-awaited designation as a Regional Hub for Climate Change Information is now a reality. The official launch of the hub and information portal took place last Friday (June 20, 2014) at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, St James.
Panos, a regional communication organisation, does project management work in four primary programmes – Children, Youth and Violence; Public Health and Human Rights, Climate Change, Livelihood and Gender; and Media Development.
Regional Coordinator (Haiti and Jamaica) Indi Mclymont Lafayette declared that the development of the hub is three years in the making.
While the issues around climate change generally are topical, specific information on adaptation is in woefully short supply — despite its critical importance to small-island developing states, such as those that comprise the Caribbean.
“The regional hub is a place where adaptation work is highlighted and key information shared with relevant stakeholders, because, while much more is being done on climate change generally, adaptation issues are still emergent,” Mclymont Lafayette said.
“In the Caribbean, conservation work is being done by a number of organisations, however, there isn’t enough coordination or sharing of knowledge which [has] resulted in the duplication of projects. Therefore, we want to pre-empt this with the mechanism of the regional hub,” she added.
According to Mclymont Lafayette, Panos has worked in the Caribbean for some 20 years, with a geographic mandate that covers 25 independent countries and 13 dependent territories.
She admitted that there is a major challenge reaching all 38 territories, but said that through creative and strategic collaborations, the organisation has been able to partner with a variety of regional entities — including the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies — to advance its work in the interest of the region’s vulnerable and marginalised people.
Meanwhile, the information portal — comprised of a database of journalists, conservationists and other regional stakeholders — has been made possible through funding from the International Development Research Centre and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.
“This is the resource that we plan to make available to key partners, and we have a unique opportunity to chart a course for Caribbean sustainable development. I welcome your partnership and support in this journey as we launch this entity today,” concluded Mclymont Lafayette.