Thursday 2 July, 2020

Civil Society wants urgent action on climate change in T&T

Students in T&T marching to address climate change

Students in T&T marching to address climate change

Civil society in Trinidad and Tobago is urging accelerated action on climate change for sustainable development and COVID-19 recovery.

Thirty civil society priorities for climate action were delivered as part of the newly launched Trinidad and Tobago Civil Society Report: Spotlight on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 Climate Action.

The report, which highlights inadequate progress and the critical need for ramping up efforts to address climate change, was released on Monday, June 15 at a virtual launch event hosted by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).  
Developed with inputs from 53 civil society organisations (CSOs) working across the SDGs and in diverse sectors, the landmark civil society report comes as the Government is preparing to present its Voluntary National Review (VNR) on progress in implementing the SDGs at the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this July.  
Speaking at the launch, CANARI Technical Officer and coordinator for the spotlight report, Candice Ramkissoon, noted the VNR was viewed as an opportunity to develop a civil society report to ensure civil society perspectives are captured and our voices included.”

She also emphasised that while the Government is reporting on a number of other SDGs in addition to SDG 13, climate change is a cross-cutting sustainable development issue which warrants increased attention and urgent integrated action across sectors to address.

"This is especially important given the vulnerability associated with Trinidad and Tobago’s status as a small island developing state," she said.
CANARI and the SDGs Catalysts Network (a network of 21 leading CSOs) convened under the recently concluded CSOs for Good Governance project (2017-2020) and mobilised CSOs to develop the report with financial support from the European Union and the Green Climate Fund.

Participating CSOs engaged in cross-cutting analysis of climate change in five key thematic areas: gender and equality; sustainable cities and communities; energy and responsible consumption and production; biodiversity' and health, water and food security.

The result was a scorecard of 30 priorities to accelerate climate action, including a ranking of the level of progress in achieving them, as assessed by civil society.  

Some of the key overarching recommendations emerging from the CSOs’ analysis include the need for: improving coordinated climate action and mechanisms for engaging civil society; updating the Climate Change Policy (2011); reformation of the Green Fund to improve access to climate financing; placing increased focus on local adaptive capacity, especially of the poor and most vulnerable groups; and updating the national development monitoring framework to take into account and effectively track progress on SDG 13 across sectors.  

CANARI hopes the report will encourage increased consideration for how civil society can be a strong partner to the government for a ‘whole of society’ approach to climate action.

CANARI is urging the Government to consider the report as part of the submission for the official Trinidad and Tobago VNR which is soon to be published. 

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