The University of the West Indies (UWI
2020 brought major challenges to every organized activity across the globe, corporate and personal. Most Caribbean Islands registered their first cases of COVID-19 in mid-March, with most early cases imported from the United Kingdom. The response of shutdowns was swift. Many islands closed their borders, and many Caribbean nationals have been locked out of their countries, as airspace closed and airlines cancelled bookings. Internet and mobile connectivity became a serious issue across the region as all but essential workers began working remotely. While the pandemic seems to threaten our very existence, the Caribbean is forging ahead, with the necessary precautions. SDSN Caribbean continues to support initiatives to create a space that is equitable, just, safe, and environmentally and economically sound.
Caribbean Sustainable Development Report 2020
SDSN Caribbean participated in the first Global Solutions Forum in New York in September 2019. The Network’s solution was “Alternatives to EVs: Biofuels in Barbados,” presented by Dr. Legena Henry, Lecturer in Renewable Energy at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, and principal investigator for the project.
As a result of her presentation, Dr. Henry received a grant of one hundred thousand U.S. dollars from the Blue Chip Foundation, to support 21 months of research to further the initiative, starting in December 2019. Two Home Biogas support systems, each with a capacity of 2,500 litres, have been acquired to test the potential of turning rum distillery waste into fuel around Barbados. The equipment arrived during the peak of the pandemic and the testing plan has been accordingly amended to take place on the Cave Hill Campus.
Youth Entrepreneurs Seminar
In October 2019, young people gathered at the Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica, to hear from young entrepreneurs on how they can tap into entrepreneurship. The Seminar was organized by SDSN Caribbean and the Institute for Sustainable Development, and addressed SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). Each presenter delivered a short presentation on the nature of entrepreneurship and how they found their niche, the importance of entrepreneurship in sustainable livelihoods, and advice on how to manage and navigate discouraging situations. The seminar was attended by over sixty participants, who left saying that they received sound advice from the seminar and were encouraged to embark on starting their own businesses.
International Seminar on Climate Action
The SDSN Caribbean network and the SDG Center for Latin America the Caribbean held the 4th International Seminar on Climate Action on March 4th and 5th at the University of the West Indies. Participants and presenters discussed climate adaptation and resilience strategies in Caribbean SIDS, vulnerable farming communities in Latin America, and shifts to renewable energy in the region, taking into account community engagement, market-based solutions and institutional incentives. Young people from the Vice Chancellor’s Ambassadors Corps also presented a forum on climate action, and another public forum explored hurricanes in Caribbean SIDS, with a focus on mitigation strategies and economic recovery.
In the next several months, SDSN Caribbean will continue to support the implementation of the Biofuels in Barbados solution and to focus on youth engagement. The pandemic is complicating these activities, but has renewed everyone’s passion to support lasting, sustainable development in the region.