On April 28-29, the Cropper Foundation, in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean, organized a regional workshop in Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago. The meeting’s objectives were:
- developing 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
- identifying possible mechanisms which would allow for more effective coordination of DESD activities
- enhancing networks and collaboration in support of the DESD
- encouraging donor support for ESD activities within the Region
This workshop presented an opportunity to follow up on a previous workshop organized in October 2010, in Jamaica, to discuss and give inputs for the monitoring and evaluation process for the DESD.
Around 30 participants attended this meeting from a wide variety of countries, including Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.
The meeting started with welcoming remarks from the Minister of Education of Trinidad & Tobago, as well as representatives from collaborating institutions such as the University of the West Indies, UNEP ROLAC, Caribbean Examinations Council and CARICOM.
Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education, shared about the commitment of the Trinidad and Tobago government to bring about changes in the curricula and methods of assessment, with the vision of having students that are socially integrated, physically fit and capable of realizing their potential.
The organizers prioritized discussions and group work over plenary talks. Nonetheless, it was important to offer background information and analysis of the progress of the DESD to date, both globally and in the Caribbean Region. It was also important to report on the monitoring and evaluation process for the Decade, and to offer examples of good practices on ESD.
The Earth Charter was presented in one of the plenary talks on good practices. A description of how the Charter was used in a nation-wide teacher training process on ESD in Costa Rica was offered, in addition to an account of the process to build the Latin American and Caribbean Strategy for the DESD in 2006.
On the first day, participants discussed in groups the main challenges to promoting ESD and implementing actions under the DESD context. The lack of understanding of the concept of education for sustainable development was considered one of the main challenges. There was agreement on the need for opening a discussion and dialogue process about the purpose of education, and to redefine it to meet the challenges that the region is currently facing.
Other important challenges concern how to collaborate and coordinate efforts to promote ESD. To date there has been a fragmented approach to, as well as insufficient resources for, putting ESD into action. There are a number of important steps that can be taken to address this, including capacity-building, generating research, using ICTs and media, and developing appropriate indicators to assess progress.
During the second day, participants identified various actions that ideally could be implemented to respond to the seven strategies for the DESD:
- Vision Building and Advocacy; Consultation and Ownership; and Partnerships and Networks
- Capacity Building and Training
- Research, Development and Innovation; Use of Information and Communications Technology; and Monitoring and Evaluation.
The inputs given by the participants were very relevant, with concrete suggestions for implementation. The organizers will take all this information and generate a report (that will be uploaded here when available).
At the end of the meeting, a lively discussion started about the support needed and infrastructure required for moving forward with the implementation of ESD actions in the region, considering the inputs from this workshop.
Several participants proposed to ask the Cropper Foundation to take a leadership role for following up on some of the actions proposed here, and to make sure that the participants can continue to be in touch, sharing ideas and resources as well as collaborating on projects.
In addition, each participant wrote some ideas about how the organizations they represent could contribute to the activities discussed in the meeting, and for the overall implementation of the DESD.
Find in this link the Meeting’s Final Report (to see it, right click the screen and select Show All. The pages can then be turned by clicking the bottom-right hand corner of the pages).