It is important that Barbados continue to play a leading role in informing their citizens on the programme of action of small island developing states (SIDS). Furthermore, national coordinator of the Global Environment Facility’s small grants programme, David Bynoe, says that he believes that as long as the island and other partners in the region have the capacity to contribute to that information dissemination they should.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY during a Civil Society Organization (CSO) consultation on SIDS and post-2015 development agenda held at the United Nations House in Hastings, Christ Church, this morning, Bynoe said it was important Barbadians were aware of the sustainable development challenges facing SIDS. Particularly, he added, because though the region did not contribute significantly to climate change in terms of the amount of carbon emission created, “we nonetheless were most impacted”.
“Generally, Barbadians are not as aware of the process as they should be, but you have significant pockets of persons who make sure that they make it their goal or task to be informed. But what we want to do is to ensure that the average person understands what is happening in the global agenda as it relates especially to SIDS, because as a small island developing state we are [exposed] to several major impacts in climate change.
“We are seeing it in out coral reefs, change of weather patterns . . . days are getting hotter, sea levels are rising, very strange weather patterns, more significant downpours and people generally feeling there is something happening that is very different from before,” Bynoe said.
Bynoe, who is also an agriculturist, stateed that because everyone did not identify this issue as climate change, more education was therefore needed, so more people would be willing to take action. And this workshop, he said, was also part of the process.
“. . . Because we can’t rely on Government and international agencies like the United Nations alone to disemminate the information but the average citizens through community-based organizations can play a role in getting that information out to their constituents.”
The GEF provides special grants for opportunities for training in areas such as: climate change, international waters, biodiversity and the prevention of harmful waste, climate change adaption funding, as well as land derogation, which is particularly important to Barbados since a large portion of the Scotland District is prone to land slippage.
The workshop was opened to CSOs, and Bynoe was hoping that it would not be a “talkshop”; rather he wanted it to be a platform and opportunity for these persons to hopefully form a formal major group structure and have their voices heard.
“It is not a one-off workshop. We will have others following on and building on the foundation that has been laid today. We are also going to have grants specifically targeting certain issues that were raised, and these grants are opened between US$50,000. Some of the key benefits of having a formal major group structure is that for you to influence policy within the UN system, you need a conduit to go through.
Traditionally the main conduit would be through Government, but following the Rio Conference what happened was that we wanted to get more citizens involvement. If countries in the Caribbean don’t have this major group structure, it makes it more difficult going forward,” Bynoe added.