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As Disaster Displacement and Environmental Migration Increase, Caribbean Civil Society Positions to Play a Greater Role

As Disaster Displacement and Environmental Migration Increase, Caribbean Civil Society Positions to Play a Greater Role

IOM brings Civil Society Organizations together in Series of Capacity Building Webinars

Georgetown, 18 August 2023 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) brought representatives from 59 Caribbean civil service organizations (CSOs) together in a five-part webinar series on migration, environment and climate change, preparing them to take a more active role in regional and international frameworks addressing the challenges and opportunities of environemrntal migration and disaster displacement.  The virtual exchanges were held fortnightly from 11 May to 6 July 2023 under the theme “Enhancing Caribbean CSOs Capacities on Human Mobility in Contexts of Disasters, Environmental Degradation and Climate Change”.  They featured presentations from nine Caribbean CSOs and technical officers of IOM-UN Migration, creating a virtual space to share on recent developments, areas of good practice, and ongoing mutual concerns.  The capacity-building series was intended to promote partnerships and meaningful impact for migrant and local communities in Caribbean countries, using a whole-of-society approach. Students and faculty of regional academic institutions such as the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana also participated. 

Presentations were delivered to highlight the diversity of experiences and best practices that exist in the Caribbean and beyond.  Presenting organizations included the Dominica Red Cross, Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN – Belize Chapter), Ideas I Foundation and CariPhil Alliance, Equals Barbados and AnchorBridge Environmental Inc., Jamaica Climate Change Youth Council, La Ruta del Clima, Climate Analytics and students from the University of Georgetown.   The webinars focussed on a range of key issues, such as disaster risk reduction, labour migration and diaspora engagement, vulnerable populations, human rights and climate finance in the context of climate-induced mobility.  

Referring to 2021 White House Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, IOM Deputy Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Eraina Yaw, noted that CSOs are uniquely placed to play a pivotal role in understanding and responding to displacement by climate change.  In her opening remarks to the webinar series, Yaw highlighted that CSOs have “in-depth, specialized knowledge of the communities and locations that need support and are often the first to respond when a disaster strikes”.

Talya Mohammed, of the Ideas I Foundation in Trinidad & Tobago reflected on the IOM CSO Webinar Series:

“Altogether, the series offered multifaceted benefits of networking, learning more about IOM’s work in our region, direct knowledge gains on the subjects covered in the five-part series from panelists and their dynamic projects featured. It truly demonstrated the many interconnected issues of migration, environment and climate change in our block of the Global South.

“CSOs who attended the webinar, gained much information and data on environmentally induced disaster programmes and policies that included mitigation strategies for migrants and other vulnerable populations. This supports the development of adaptive evidence-based solutions.”

Upcoming activities will engage and support the CSOs to form a civil society network that will play an increasing role in providing input and feedback into regional policy and practice and global agenda in the area of migration, environment and climate change.

The webinar series was implemented under the French-funded project “Caribbean component: Implementing Global Policies on Environmental Migration and Disaster Displacement at the Regional Level” being implemented by IOM Caribbean.  The activities were guided by the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM) which recommends a whole-of-society approach to migration issues. The objectives of the GCM include minimizing the negative drivers of migration, reducing vulnerabilities during migration, saving lives, and creating conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries.

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