Caribbean region workshop on Education for Sustainable Development

10 February 2011 | News story

The Cropper Foundation and partners will host a Regional Workshop for the Caribbean on ESD in April 2011. 

From CEC member Omar Mohammed, Programme Officer, Cropper Foundation

About the workshop

The Cropper Foundation, along with its main collaborators, will host a Regional Workshop for the Caribbean on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This Regional Workshop, which will be held in April 2011, will be conducted in two parallel sessions – the first of which will seek to assess regional progress and further steps required in implementing and seeking to achieve the goals and objectives of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD: 2005 - 2014). The second (parallel) workshop session is being designed to provide an opportunity for Caribbean Youth to express their opinions and discuss their role in sustainable development within the Caribbean and in ensuring their participation in environmental sustainability and governance; as well as providing a career guidance opportunity for youth in the fields of environment/sustainable development. The Cropper Foundation has obtained financial support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNEP ROLAC).

An emphasis on ESD

Positive individual and public behaviour is vital to Sustainable Development, and in a country or region where sustainable and transformative behavioural patterns do not exist; they ought to be developed and nurtured. Public awareness of the issues and individual/societal education about compatible attitudes, decisions, and actions are means through which such behaviour can be positively influenced and sustainable development can be driven – this is the overarching nature of The Cropper Foundation’s Programme for Environment and Resource Education (IERE). IERE seeks to undertake a range of activities to develop materials, disseminate information, build public awareness, support related formal and informal activities, facilitate public learning, positively affect civic behaviour, and contribute to public discussion and public policy within a sustainable development framework – that is, a holistic framework within which economy, environment and society are interrelated.

The need for greater emphasis on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is therefore now apparent. With the launch of the United Nations’ Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) in 2005, with the United Nations Scientific, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) being its lead organization, the importance of utilizing education as a tool towards sustainability was mainstreamed. This ambitious initiative holds much importance especially for the Caribbean Region’s capacity in its trajectory of sustainable development.

The context of the DESD provides the impetus and the framework for assessing ESD within the Caribbean Region. By taking stock at the mid-point of the DESD, we must assess what comprises ESD initiatives within the Region throughout all sectors, structure these initiatives within a framework that can be used to create a more cohesive approach, as well as on to which future initiatives can be placed and integrated.

As such, The Cropper Foundation will host a Regional Workshop for the Caribbean on Education for Sustainable Development on April 28th and 29th 2011, which will serve several purposes, including being a direct follow up to UNESCO’s Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop held in Kingston, Jamaica in October 2010. The April 2011 Regional Workshop will seek to:

  • assess the overall progress in ESD in the Caribbean Region within the context of the DESD
  • develop a comprehensive framework of DESD activities and initiatives which will involve bringing better synergy and thus coherence to activities underway; and catalyzing activities and initiatives to fill gaps and address areas which have been neglected to date
  • identify possible mechanisms which would allow for more effective coordination of DESD activities
  • enhance networks and collaboration in support of the DESD
  • encourage donor support for ESD activities within the Region

The Regional Workshop will bring together stakeholders from academia, NGOs/civil society, International and Regional Governance/policy organisations and on the ground practitioners, with the hope of producing a framework which is as cohesive and inclusive as possible, taking into consideration the wide diversity of the Region in which we live.

The Cropper Foundation also recognises the critical aspect of intergenerational partnerships in achieving sustainability and as such, will host a Parallel Workshop for Caribbean Youth, which will seek to identify the skills, pedagogy, gaps and means of behavioural change in moving towards a more sustainable Region. This Workshop for Caribbean Youth will seek to address:

  • the main sustainable development challenges in the Caribbean, and the role of governance in addressing these challenges
  • the role of youth in efforts towards achieving greater environmental sustainability at the national, regional and global levels, including the involvement of youth in environmental decision-making and governance
  • careers in the field of sustainable development

Knowledge gained in the course of each parallel workshop will be cross-fed into the other, with the understanding that every stakeholder is important in determining the success of a comprehensive ESD strategy and framework.

This Regional Workshop is being supported financially and substantively by several of The Cropper Foundation’s partners and collaborators. The workshop forms an integral part of the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO’s programme of work in 2011 and has received great support substantively and financially through the Participation Programme of UNESCO and has highlighted as a follow up initiative by the UNESCO Regional Office for the Caribbean. We have also received financial support from The United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and have also collaborated extensively with The University of the West Indies, across all three Regional campuses in the preparation and conceptualising of this workshop.

This Regional Workshop for the Caribbean is by invitation/inquiry only. To request information on the agenda and participation, please contact The Cropper Foundation at +868 626 2628/2564; Ms. Keisha Garcia, President at kgarcia@thecropperfoundation.org or Mr. Omar Mohammed, Programme Officer at omohammed@thecropperfoundation.org. or log on to the workshop’s website.