Civil Society in T&T seeks productive relationships with local authorities
Beginning period April 2017 to March 2020 Environment Tobago will work in collaboration with the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, United Way Trinidad and Tobago (UWTT), University of the West Indies-Institute for Gender and Development Studies (UWI-IGDS), Veni Apwann (VA) and the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD).
The project is aimed at catalysing transformation to a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, inclusive, accountable and resilient model of development and governance through supporting the effective involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in T&T. The overall budget is €340,000 provided through a grant from the European Commission but includes a further €100,000 in co-funding from the project partners. In short this means the project aims to remove the traditional sticking points of Trinidad and Tobago’s civil society Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) initiatives where it meets government inaction.
The project comprises inter-linked activities namely;
- Activity A is The development of a mechanism for Enhancing Civil Society’s engagement in the national SDGs effort. The mechanism is already manifested as the Catalysts Network, twenty-two leading civil society groups who shall work in tandem across the full range of sectors targeted for development such as education, health, youth, poverty, gender and environment. This is not adhoc juxtapositioning. The Catalyst Network is guided by a comprehensive Terms of Reference clarifying Purpose, Objectives, and Responsibilities.
- Activity B seeks to develop and maintain an online SDG knowledge and Advocacy Platform. The concept entails a virtual space where communicate interactively with the Catalysts Network core as well as the wider civicus collective.
- Activity C shall enable – via research and the dissemination of that data to and through the Catalysts, support that will effectively mobilise the widest possible range of civil society nationally.
- The project shall also advocate for and develop a collective civil society position on priorities for Trinidad and Tobago SDGs agenda. Part of that initiative involves a national consultation workshop to synthesise the common priorities/positions.
- The final or key activity is the development and promotion of a mechanism for CSOs to partner on SDG implementation – including monitoring and and reporting. This shall entail the Catalyst Network recommending a civil society focal point to liaise with government and to facilitate civil society input in the national mechanism established by government for SDG implementation. This will see actions, results and information on the contribution of civil society to the implementation of the SDGs going to government and the general public via specific communication products. Further along, annual reports documenting civil society contribution (to the implementation of the SDGs). Finally an evaluation report on the Catalysts Network’s function as a mechanism for civil society engagement in national development will be prepared and disseminated.