Data is king but communication is key.

This was one of the key themes that consistently emerged over the past few days at the International Climate Change Conference, hosted by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) which was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from October 9 to 12, 2017. Over the past four days researchers, scientists, policy-makers and key stakeholders across the Caribbean discussed key issues ranging from current climate change research, climate actions and policy and climate finance. Relevant and highly useful climate information is being generated by various institutions across the Caribbean countries from scientific analysis and modelling of water availability or tropical storm paths to livelihood vulnerability assessments. This international conference served as an important forum to communicate results and lessons learned as well as recommend future synergies and applications of this climate information with Caribbean stakeholders.

Notwithstanding the need for improved systems of data collection and analysis across the region, stakeholders recognized the need for better communication strategies for disseminating this highly relevant climate information, being generated right here in the Caribbean. Dr. Adelle Thomas of Climate Analytics proposed the creation of a Regional Network of Climate Researchers and Research, which would be hosted by the CCCCC, which would include researcher profiles, databases of peer-reviewed journal papers, policy briefs and blog posts. Such a platform would improve the visibility of our researchers, promote collaboration of interdisciplinary research on climate change and serve as an interface between science and policy in the Caribbean. Ms. Sharon Lindo of the CCCC indicated that her organization was up to the challenge of working with Climate Analytics to create this Regional Network of Climate Researchers and Research for the Caribbean.

Communication and knowledge sharing strategies for climate information should not be limited to researchers, policy-makers or stakeholders. The media has a key role to play in how we break down complex ideas about climate change into simple but powerful messages for the general public about climate change. Ms. Donna Gittens-Roach of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Barbados noted that under the Japan- Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (JCCP), they have undertaken media training workshops to sensitize Caribbean journalists and media personal how to report on climate change issues effectively. Making climate change newsworthy in the Caribbean requires researchers, policymakers and media to craft meaningful stories about climate change to engage persons across all sectors – from health workers to bankers to farmers to politicians to students.

Climate Tracker in the Caribbean

Young people are key agents of change who are not usually well-integrated into projects, programmes or policies on climate action in Caribbean countries. Young people have unique perspectives about their environment and society and can influence their peers, families and communities. Climate Tracker, particularly the Caribbean Hub, has the potential to be an important partner for research institutions, government agencies, international agencies, non-governmental organisations and communities who need to communicate and share climate information. Our cadre of young climate journalists will have the opportunity to report on climate change research, results and experiences from climate mitigation and adaptation projects and policies and share these messages with the region and the world. Participants at the conference highlighted the importance of collaboration to maximize resources to actively address climate change issues in the Caribbean. These partnerships will also allow young people to interact with climate researchers,

Our cadre of young climate journalists will have the opportunity to report on climate change research, results and experiences from climate mitigation and adaptation projects and policies and share these messages with the region and the world. Participants at the conference highlighted the importance of collaboration to maximize resources to actively address climate change issues in the Caribbean. These partnerships will also allow young people to interact with climate researchers, policymakers and negotiators and empower them to be more involved in decision-making about climate change and sustainable development in the Caribbean.

Climate Tracker can be utilised to improve communication and knowledge-sharing strategies about climate change in the Caribbean.

Are we ready to take up the challenge here in the Caribbean?

Sasha Jattansingh

About Sasha Jattansingh

Sasha is Consultant on Environmental Management and Sustainable Development with a focus on participatory governance and climate change policy. She holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy and Regulation from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Sasha is Interested in utilising behavioural economics to design appropriate policy responses for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Caribbean.