May 30, 2023 – Caribbean nations in keeping up with the times, are making moves to Foster sustainable digital transformation (DT) across the region as nine Caribbean ministers and two senior advisers with responsibility for DT, signed the Port of Spain Commitment on Digital Integration.
The signing took place during the Executive Sessions on Digital Leadership in the Caribbean on May 15th and 16th and is indicative of the commitment of the signees to work towards digital advancement across the region.
During the session, senior DT policy makers from the region and distinguished thought leaders and speakers, had talks and shared information regarding their efforts for DT, their successes, challenges, and interests in leveraging technology to enhance the lives of the people, including the Diaspora.
Additionally, they agreed on actions in accordance with three essential areas of digital advancement namely, Infrastructural Ecosystem, Cybersecurity, and Digital Identity and Interoperability.
They further agreed on activities, as detailed under the Port of Spain Commitment namely:
- 1.Consider the creation of a Regional Government Cloud leveraging existing or. planned government data centres across the Caribbean region.
- Establish a Regional Data Centre to provide a more cost-effective and resilient solution for data storage and management.
- Develop a Regional C-SIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) to coordinate collaboration among national CSIRTS.
- Enhance Cybersecurity Education, Training, and Awareness to build capacity, to address the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry; and to promote safe online practices and educate citizens on the risks associated with cyber threats.
- Develop a Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Regional Framework to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats, identify vulnerabilities, and implement appropriate risk mitigation measures.
- Pursue cross-border recognition of digital IDs, addressing issues such as data protection, and privacy.
- Establish a shared repository of digital solutions (government-owned source code) allowing governments access to solutions required for their digital transformation efforts.
- Develop a region-wide validation of national forms of identification and credentials based on an interoperable digital identity.
The eleven countries that signed the commitment are Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis; and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Robert L. Le Hunte, Executive Director of the IDB, expressed support for the newly signed commitment.
“There are several things that we can do collaboratively and interactions like these will be instrumental in shaping a more inclusive digital transformation process.”
During Sessions hosted by the Ministry of Digital Transformation on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, partnering with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB), and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union; the Caribbean ministers and senior officials were also presented with IDB’s newest Government Digital Transformation Guide,’ which provides excellent knowledge on transformation topics such as new digital processes and services, key roles for digital government, and cybersecurity.
UN and OECS hosts Caribbean Waste Management meeting held in Jamaica
#Jamaica, September 24, 2023 – Caribbean countries met in Kingston, Jamaica, to take part in a regional training and technical exchange activity, courtesy of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to address the growing challenges of waste management and environmental sustainability in the Caribbean region; this is announced by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Held on the September 12-14, the workshop included the following objectives:
- Share good practices and lessons learned in the Caribbean for the improvement of waste data and statistics and associated indicators, especially from the four case study countries of the project.
- Strengthen waste information systems and capacity to deliver waste statistics by facilitating the integration of the Caribbean countries in the Waste and Circular economy Hub for Latin-America and the Caribbean.
- Promote the harmonisation of waste information systems in the Caribbean, strengthening their sustainability and enhancing regional cooperation in this field.
- Prepare draft work plans to improve the availability and reliability of data related to waste management and the circular economy.
- Network with peers, experts, and organisations involved in waste management and environmental conservation, fostering collaboration and information exchange.
In the statement, the OECS highlighted that the region is faced with various unique challenges in relation to waste management, and environmental conservation. It continued to express that as resource demand rises, the responsible management of waste becomes more essential.
However, it pointed to the Zero Waste in the Caribbean initiative, which it says was launched “to promote integrated and sustainable waste management in the context of a circular economy in the Caribbean.”
The Zero waste project is funded by the European Union, in collaboration with CARIFORUM, co-financed by the German cooperation and implemented by AFD, GIZ and UNEP, in partnership with the OECS.
Present at the opening of the meeting was H.E. Marianne Van Steen, European Union Ambassador who pointed to the importance of solid waste management strategies in the Caribbean. Her Excellency was pushing attention to the “Small Island Developing States”, which she says are facing specific roadblocks in finding effective ways to handle solid waste due to “their limited size and because of their limited waste management capacities.”
Considering the aim of the meeting, she continued to say that, “in order to face these challenges, waste data collection and management are key and the sharing of good practices and exchange of experiences during this workshop are essential and extremely valuable”.
The event was made possible through collaboration with the European Union, CARIFORUM, the German Development Cooperation, UNEP, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the French Development Agency (AFD), OECS and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), all committed to supporting sustainable waste management practices throughout the Caribbean.
It saw in person and virtual sessions as well as participants and saw the attendance of Government officials, environmental professionals, waste management experts and representatives from relevant organisations and institutions from across the Caribbean region.
UK Gov’t calls for proposals to handle sargassum in Caribbean
#UnitedKingdom, September 24, 2023 – The Government of The United Kingdom in recognizing the need for solutions to sargassum in the Caribbean is upping efforts by providing funding in order to attract research proposals on the invasive weed
Sargassum has been, for years now, plaguing regional counties like Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic, taking over their shores and affecting the quality of their beaches.
Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the UK Government, responding to requests from Caribbean leaders last week, invited partners to submit proposals for up to £300,000 (USD$374,000) before October 10.
According to reports, the research should advance commercial, scalable, safe solutions to process, sink or store the sargassum.
Amid this development, the Prime Minister expressed an understanding that “finding solutions to sargassum influxes could be vital to the Caribbean’s sustainable development and climate resilience.”
Smart City Project a Testament to Innovation, Progressive – Dr. Morris Dixon
#Kingston, September 24, 2023 – Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Dr. the Hon. Dana Morris Dixon, has hailed the New Kingston smart city project as a testament to innovation and a beacon of hope and progress for the entire nation.
Dr. Morris Dixon, who has oversight for Skills and Digital Transformation, was addressing a smart city forum hosted by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on September 20.
The forum, held in collaboration with US-based project development firm Tuatara Group, was designed to highlight the benefits of a smart city, which is about using technology to drive efficiency in a sustainable way, while enhancing the quality of life of its citizens. This includes improved safety, public Wi-Fi, traffic management, urban planning and environment monitors, among other benefits.
The event also gave an overview of the feasibility study for the JPS Smart City Demonstration Project for New Kingston.
The utility company has been awarded a grant by the United States Trade and Development Agency for technical assistance to identify and deploy cutting edge technology and energy solutions in the business district and develop a roadmap for broader implementation of smart cities throughout the country.
JPS is promising to redefine urban living in New Kingston through smart city solutions such as a smart grid, intelligent transportation, and improved potable water supply, safety and security, solid waste, public health and environmental services.
President and Chief Executive Officer, JPS, Steve Berberich, said that the company has been investing in the New Kingston space with the rollout of smart meters and smart LED streetlights, among other solutions.
Dr. Morris Dixon, in her address, noted that technology is playing a pivotal role in refining the urban landscape, making these areas more resilient, efficient and people friendly.
She is urging citizens, as Jamaica strides into the digital era, to embrace technological innovations and adapt them to meet their unique circumstances and challenges.
She noted that the Government, in its digital transformation thrust, is not only about fostering new skills and digital literacy but “reshaping Jamaica for a new era where technology empowers our communities, businesses and institutions”.
Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, Hon. Daryl Vaz, in his remarks noted that the concept of a smart city centres around creating spaces that are efficient, inclusive and sustainable for every citizen.
The smart city uses information and communications technology (ICT) to improve efficiencies, share information with the public and help provide better quality services to promote economic growth and improve the quality of life for all, he pointed out further.
Minister Vaz said that the Government is connecting citizens, through the provision of free Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 180 communities in rural and urban areas.
Noting that the smart city will also improve transportation for people, he said that Jamaica has set a goal of having 10 per cent of transportation powered by electric vehicles (EV) by 2030.
“The Government is doing that through the boosting of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) fleet with the addition of 45 EVs, which will ply the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR),” he said.
Contact: Chris Patterson
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