Mon | Aug 2, 2021

Earth Today | OECS strategy to guide civil society engagement on sustainable development

Published:Thursday | July 22, 2021 | 12:06 AM
Civil society engagement central to new OECS strategy.
Civil society engagement central to new OECS strategy.

THE ORGANISATION of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission is developing a strategy to enhance the engagement of civil society and private sector stakeholders across the Eastern Caribbean in environmental management and related sustainable development initiatives.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is providing technical assistance to the OECS Commission to develop this Stakeholder Engagement Strategy as part of the memorandum of understanding between the two organisations.

CANARI is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for over 30 years. With its mission to promote and facilitate stakeholder participation in the stewardship of natural resources in the Caribbean, CANARI focuses on biodiversity and ecosystems, equity, participatory governance and resilience.

The initiative, meanwhile, will fulfil a mandate from the OECS Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability. It is being supported by the European Union as part of the OECS Commission’s BioSPACE project.

The strategy will provide guidelines for engagement of civil society, including national and community-based groups, and private sector stakeholders (including resource users, user associations and nature-based micro-enterprises). It will be used by public sector agencies in the OECS, the OECS Commission, and their partners working on biodiversity and ecosystems management in the OECS region. It will cover all members of the OECS: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The process to develop the strategy will include review of key policies, strategies, plans, and initiatives in the OECS, as well as consultations with stakeholders from key target groups through interviews, focus groups and webinars over August and September 2021. It will draw on previous experiences, lessons learned, best practices and recommendations of stakeholders to provide a practical guide on mechanisms and tools to reach different target groups so that they can effectively engage in environmental management in the OECS.

“Ultimately, this will protect ecosystems and biodiversity, ensure food and water security, enhance climate resilience, while supporting economic development, livelihoods and well-being of OECS people,” CANARI said in a release to the media.