CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
2. Climate change education and training in the country
3. Climate change communication in the country
i. Climate change context
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Southern Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela and south of Grenada. The country also borders Barbados in the northeast and Guyana in the southeast. According to the World Bank, Trinidad and Tobago has a total population of about 1.4 million people (as of 2020) living on 5131 km2 of land.
The country’s economy depends on oil and gas production. The World Bank indicates that Trinidad and Tobago is vulnerable to climate change in the form of rising temperatures and sea level, changes in precipitation, increased flooding and frequency of hurricanes, and loss of coastal habitats.
The Global Carbon Atlas shows that Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest national levels greenhouse gas emissions at 25 t/CO2 per person in 2020. Trinidad and Tobago’s 3rd National Communication (2021) states that sectors contributing the most greenhouse gas emissions are industrial processes and product use (48%), followed by energy (43%), and agriculture, forestry, and other land use, and waste at 5% each.
Trinidad and Tobago is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-Annex I country that ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 1999, the Doha Amendment in 2015, and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2018.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Planning and Development in Trinidad and Tobago is responsible for all climate change and environmental planning. It is also the country’s Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point for UNFCCC in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry is responsible for coordinating the country’s environmental policy, planning, and managing and coordinating all stakeholders in developing the National Development Strategy (2016–2030), known as Vision 2030. The Ministry, through Vision 2030, aims to transform the country’s economic growth to be environmentally friendly, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and build resilience to adverse impacts of climate change.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Environmental Management Authority is responsible for regulating and enforcing the country’s natural resource and environmental regulations related to water, air, noise, biodiversity, waste, and knowledge management systems. The Authority partners with the Ministry of Planning and Development on climate change activities, especially on public education and awareness.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land, and Fisheries (formerly the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs) is also involved in climate change activities in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry is engaged in climate-related programs such as climate-smart agriculture. In its Strategic Plan (2011–2015), the Ministry identified climate change impacts threatening the country’s agriculture and food production. Among its objectives in the Strategic Plan are to “preserve the natural resource base and enhance environmental and biodiversity conservation and protection and build resilience to climate change impacts” (p. 33).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, located in Belize, serves the Caribbean community in terms of climate change. The Centre is mentioned in various policy documents of Trinidad and Tobago, including the Climate Change Policy (2011). The Centre offers climate change communication and education initiatives.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago is responsible for education matters from early childhood care and education to technical and vocational education and training, and nursing education. The Ministry coordinates the development of curricula and study materials at the primary and secondary levels, including climate as a learning topic in study subjects.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education oversees tertiary education, research and technical and vocational education and training in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Institute of Marine Affairs is also involved in climate change education in Trinidad and Tobago. The institute researches climate-related areas, including biodiversity, ecology, environmental quality, oceanography, and coastal processes. This research is concerned with monitoring pollutants such as nutrients, hydrocarbons, and bacteria, and the data generated provide information for developing pollution mitigation and control strategies. The Institute also collaborates with the Caribbean Research Institute to inform the Caribbean people and countries about the Caribbean marine environment.
The National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago is involved in public climate education through its outreach programs. The Trust’s Strategic Plan (2019–2023) identifies environmental challenges to the country such as climate change, pollution, global warming, and deforestation. Their Annual Report (2020) describes the Trust’s work in its outreach and education programs on climate change, including holding public lectures on climate, environment, and heritage conservation.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Trinidad and Tobago has not developed any laws specific to climate change. However, it has laws to protect and conserve the general environment, including some climate change aspects. For instance, the country developed the Environmental Management Act of 2000. Section 72(d) of the Act mandates the Environmental Management Authority to engage in “public awareness and education programmes to enhance the understanding of environmental protection and natural resource management issues within Trinidad and Tobago” (p. 52). The Miscellaneous Taxes Act also includes provisions for caring for the environment. The Act, Chapter 77:01 (Act 13 of 1963 last amended by Act 46 of 2013) establishes a Green Fund to assist organizations and community groups engaged in activities for remediation, reforestation, and conservation of the environment.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago developed the National Climate Change Policy (2011), which identifies climate change education and public awareness as central to the country’s efforts to mitigate climate-induced impacts. The Policy indicates that the government will “integrate educational programs on climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation into primary and secondary school curricula and partner with tertiary institutions to enhance programs on climate change” (p. 20). The Policy planned for a climate change communication strategy to be published within one year of Policy adoption, but no strategy was not publicly available at the time of this review. The Policy was passed in 2019.
Trinidad and Tobago has a National Protected Areas Policy (2011) to protect biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services such as endangered species, game animals, fish, and medicinal plants. The government developed this Policy to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, to facilitate coping and recovery from climate change impacts. Another ambition of the Policy is to enhance sinks for greenhouse gases. The Policy indicates insufficient education and awareness about biodiversity protection among stakeholders. As a result, the Policy tasks the National Wetlands Committee to develop and implement education and public awareness programs.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago developed the National Forestry Policy (2011) to complement the National Protected Areas Policy (2011) and the National Climate Change Policy by “support[ing] the elements in other policies, where they do not conflict, and provide guidance for overall land use planning relevant to forest conservation” (p. 10). The National Forestry Policy includes aspects of public education about climate change and forest protection facilitated by stakeholders, institutionalizing professional education of forest managers to understand the country’s international commitments, and integrating “educational programmes on forests into primary and secondary school curricula, particularly the geography, environmental science, and biology curriculum” (p. 33).
Trinidad and Tobago has a National Development Strategy (2016–2030), the Agenda 2030, that aims to transform the country’s “existing economic growth model into one that is environmentally friendly while addressing climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to its adverse impacts” (p. 17). The Strategy also aspires to protect the environment sustainably through educating and raising awareness to change attitudes and behaviors, such as environmental stewardship and public awareness of alternative energy.
The National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017) of Trinidad and Tobago provides formal and informal water resource management and climate adaptation education. For instance, the Policy indicates that the government, through “relevant authorities, will also educate private landowners, farmers, and other interested parties on sound soil conservation and water resource management practices” (p. 33) to adapt to the climate, through extension and outreach programs. In formal education, the government plans to establish a comprehensive program for water resources management education in primary and secondary school education for students to understand the benefits of effectively using water resources and to promote conservation. The program “consist of training and tertiary education to build national resources capacity for effective water resources management” (p. 32).
Trinidad and Tobago has an updated National Environmental Policy (2018) which includes measures to which the country commits to undertake to tackle climate change. The Policy states that Trinidad and Tobago’s agriculture and fisheries sectors are vulnerable to climate change and thus the policy was drafted to increase resilience to climate change in the agricultural sector and “encourage the use of ecosystem based approaches for enhancing the resilience of the fisheries sector to the effects of climate change, pests and diseases” (p. 28).
Trinidad and Tobago’s most recent Public Sector Investment Programme (2022) has included the need to address climate-induced impacts. The Programme states that “It is therefore imperative that public investment focus on addressing the country’s actions towards climate change commitments and creating growth and employment in key sectors. Mitigating against climate change is significant for effective environmental management and sustainability, thus building environmental resilience.” (p. 1).
Education and communication
Trinidad and Tobago’s Education Act (1996, amended in 2016) regulates the country’s education system. The Act does not mention climate change and barely mentions the environment except in Section 18 (1)(b), stipulating that the school governing boards will conduct an operational and environmental audit of the school’s activities.
Living in harmony with nature is one of the core competencies of the ‘Ideal Caribbean Person,’ as described in the policy document titled the Creative And Productive Citizens For The Twenty-First Century (1997). The policy advocates for public participation in political decision making and was developed by the Conference of Heads of Government held in Barbados in 1996. Many policies and curriculum guidelines in Trinidad and Tobago reference the Ideal Caribbean Person.
Trinidad and Tobago has a comprehensive education policy framework. The Early Childhood Care and Education Division of the Ministry of Education developed the National Policy on Early Childhood Care & Education 2005: Standards for Regulating Early Childhood Services (2005) and the National Early Childhood Care and Education Curriculum Guide (2013).
The Ministry of Education also provides a comprehensive list of Curriculum Guides for Primary Education, divided into two guides for infants and five Standards developed in 2013. The Standards include, as a core competency, respect for the environment and an understanding of climate in general. Global warming is one of the learning outcomes in Standards 4 and 5.
Secondary School Curriculum Guides (2014) are divided by subjects. There are 10 mandatory subjects for all students. Most subjects do not include climate change. The Guidelines for Curriculum Implementation for Secondary Schools (2021) include limited resources on climate.
The Policy on Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational and Training and Lifelong Learning (2010) was developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education. The Policy has a strong focus on sustainability and aims to build capacity for a more sustainable society.
The Policy on the Development and Implementation of a National Life Skills Curriculum for Personal Development and Employment Enhancement (2010), developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, aims to improve skills of the labor force to overcome the challenges of the 21st century.
The Ministry of Education developed the Draft Education Policy Paper (2017–2022) to enhance the quality of education in Trinidad and Tobago by producing individuals with the capacity to contribute to the country’s sustainable development. According to the Paper, the government plans to incentivize education and research institutions to engage in research that is responsive to national demands such as climate change, sustainable development, and the promotion of alternative renewable energy sources. The Paper also aspires to ensure that research, education, and training respond to changing societal and environmental issues, including climate change and sustainable development.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
The terminology used in Trinidad and Tobago for climate communication and Training includes ‘environmental education,’ ‘education and awareness,’ ‘capacity building,’ ‘training,’ and ‘climate education.’
For instance, the National Forest Policy (2011) states that a “greater awareness of the linkages between forests and the issues of growth, poverty reduction and adaptation to climate” are among the factors that reinforce forest conservation and management in Trinidad and Tobago.
The National Protected Areas Policy (2011) notes that academic institutions, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations in Trinidad and Tobago directly manage protected areas through education and awareness.
The Creative And Productive Citizens For The Twenty-First Century (1997) describes the ‘vision of the Caribbean’ as an environment which should be “one which provides clean air and water, unpolluted seas and healthy communities – an environment that has not been destroyed by the development process” (n.p.). Being “in harmony with nature” is a core competency for the ‘ideal Caribbean Citizen’.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) mentions education, capacity building, and training for civil society organizations as priorities for Trinidad and Tobago related to climate mitigation. The Communication uses the term ‘conservation education’ to refer to climate change education.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
The Green Fund Execution Unit under the Ministry of Planning and Development in Trinidad and Tobago provided US$ 5 million to An Education and Empowerment Programme for Climate Change Adaptation, an initiative intended to create widespread awareness, education, and empowerment to help communities in Trinidad and Tobago build resilience for climate change and food security. This Programme will run for two years from 2022 and will be implemented in eight communities across Trinidad and Tobago.
In its National Budget (2022), the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has allocated US$ 20 million for development of green spaces for 2022, in line with the country’s theme of “preserving and protecting the Environment and branding Tobago as Clean, Green and Serene” (p.41). The Budget further allocated US$ 6.889 billion for education and training. However, no specific amount was given to climate change communication and education. The Public Sector Investment Programme (2022) states that the government in fiscal 2022 allocated US$ 2.2 million to strengthen environmental management.
The Green Climate Fund provided US$ 388,794 in 2020 to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to address pre-accreditation gaps for the Environmental Management Authority and US$ 82,000 toward training and capacity building for technical staff of the Authority.
The Global Environment Facility provided US$ 50,000 to the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute to pilot a climate change training project in 2012 called Community action to build climate change resilience in Trinidad and Tobago.
According to the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2018), Trinidad and Tobago budgeted US$ 2 billion to reduce overall emissions from high emitting sectors by 15% by 2030. The country expects to fund this through domestic spending and international financing through the Green Climate Fund. This budget plans no specific amount for climate change communication and education.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Care for the environment is a topic that can be found in all Curriculum Resources of Trinidad and Tobago. The Resources first introduce the concept of climate in Standard 3 of the Primary Curriculum Guidelines (2013). How climate works is taught in different subjects, including Spanish. Global warming is then introduced in Standard 4. Students learn how the greenhouse effect works and why the earth is getting warmer. In Standard 5 learning shifts from the cognitive dimension to the action-oriented dimension of learning, as students are encouraged to take actions and plan how they can tackle climate change.
In the Secondary School Curriculum for Social Sciences (2014), climate change is integrated into Social Science topics. Students in secondary schools are taught in groups to develop interpersonal skills and attitudes toward the climate. Students are also prepared to appreciate their natural environment and the advantages of living in the Caribbean climate. When learning about climate change, students are encouraged to brainstorm in groups and do a joint project to present in class about climate concepts, both local and global. Climate change is still missing in most subjects in secondary school curriculum guides. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The Ministry of Education runs the School Learning Management System, which offers courses on different topics, including climate. The System is not publicly available, therefore this review could not find further information.
Climate change education in Trinidad and Tobago in primary and secondary schools is also conducted through extracurricular activities. The country’s private sector and non-governmental organizations participate in climate change education in primary and secondary schools. For instance, The Ministry of Education partnered with British Petroleum Trinidad and Tobago and the Black Deer Foundation in July 2022 to organize a School’s Environmental Awareness Competition in which students presented innovative ideas for mitigating climate change through debate, art, and essay components.
Trinidad and Tobago developed its 3rd National Communication (2021) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which includes the country’s climate change communication and education priorities. For instance, the report emphasizes the need for “greater public education and awareness of climate change, the impact of carbon emissions and the power of the individual to make a difference through conservation, technological innovation” (p. 39). In addition, the report suggests that publicly protected wetlands be promoted as examples for education and awareness, as well as building the capacity of civil society organizations in climate change through education, awareness, and training.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
The teaching resources accessed through the Ministry of Education website, such as the curricula for primary and secondary schools for all subjects, do not include climate change in particular. the Primary Curriculum Instructional Toolkit (2021) has a strong focus on the environment, yet does not include climate change. Despite the Social Science Curricula (2014) for primary and secondary schools having climate change as a core area of study, the Secondary School Teacher’s Guide (2014) does not mention climate change or related contexts. Further, The Secondary School Catalogue of Resources published by the Ministry in 2021 does not include resources for climate change.
The University of Trinidad and Tobago offers a one-year postgraduate diploma in education for both in-service and pre-service teachers. The diploma covers all subjects taught in primary and secondary schools, from social sciences to technical vocational education and visual and performing arts. However, information on whether the program includes climate change was not publicly available at the time of this review.
The University of the West Indies offers a Bachelor of Education with two options for students specializing in early childhood care and education and primary education. The Handbook for the degree with the modules taught does not include climate change or environment. Other programs in education offered by the University are a certificate in education, a Master of Arts in education, and a postgraduate diploma in education. None mention climate change.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) stresses that the costs of teacher training might be too high to successfully implement the Communication goals of enhanced conservation education. However, many teachers in Trinidad and Tobago become involved in climate change-related activism through the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher Association. The Association issued a statement after the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in 2021 reiterating the need to teach about and involve school-going children in climate change.
iii. Climate change in higher education
The Policy on Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational and Training and Lifelong Learning (2010) aims to strengthen Trinidad and Tobago’s tertiary education system. The Policy is based on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) and incorporates many core principles of sustainable development. Nevertheless, the Policy focuses on social development more than environmental development and does not mention climate change.
The National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017) indicates that Trinidad and Tobago intends to make climate change education an area of study focus for tertiary institutions and universities in the country. According to the Policy, the country plans to create an education and awareness program to include formal climate change education in tertiary institutions.
Trinidad and Tobago has three major universities or tertiary level institutions: the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and the College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago.
The University of the West Indies offers certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and postgraduate programs (Masters and PhD) in the environment and climate change. For instance, the Department of Geography offers a BSc Major in Environmental and Natural Resource Management. Students take modules related to climate change, such as Anthropogenic Climate Change Management, Sustainable Watershed Management, Energy Resources, and Sustainability. The program’s objectives are to “afford all persons the opportunity to gain the extensive knowledge and understanding of the major issues and events relating to physical and human environments in the Caribbean region and wider world” (n.d.). The Department also engages in high-level research projects related to climate change. Among these is Terrestrial Flood Risk and Climate Change in the Caroni River Basin: Adaptation Measures for Vulnerable Communities, which assesses the flood risk in relation to climate change and aims “to quantitatively assess current and future flood risk using computational modelling” (n.d.). The University further offers a Certificate in Climate Change through its Open Campus and runs the UWI Global Institute for Climate Smart and Resilient Development, a leading climate research institute.
The University of Trinidad and Tobago also offers a Master of Science in Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management. The program “provides appropriate training and research experience to support sustainable use and rehabilitation of our coasts and oceans” (n.d.), but climate is not explicitly mentioned as an area of research or study focus.
The College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago also offers courses related to climate change. The Post Graduate Diploma International Trade and Commerce includes a course on trade and climate change. The Bachelor of Geographical Studies for Sustainable Development also focuses on climate change.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) aims to “Improve environmental literacy within the general population, including the incorporation of climate change into academic curricula.” (p. 260)
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
In 2020, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education developed two policies focusing on lifelong learning and training: the Policy on Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational and Training and Lifelong Learning and the Policy on the Development and Implementation of a National Life Skills Curriculum for Personal Development and Employment Enhancement: A Green Paper. Neither Policy includes climate change topics. Both focus more on capacity building for economic growth.
The National Development Strategy (2016–2030) includes, as one of its goals, to create a modern, relevant national education and training system. Increased training opportunities are seen as a way to increase sustainable development with human capacity at the center.
Non-government actors mainly conduct training and adult learning on climate change in Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute has implemented projects to train the public in climate change adaptation and mitigation. For instance, in 2012, the Institute piloted a project called Community action to build climate change resilience in Trinidad and Tobago. The project’s purpose was to “enhance the capacity of rural communities in Trinidad and Tobago to adapt to the impacts of climate change through increased knowledge and understanding of climate change impacts and facilitating community action to develop and implement resilience-building strategies” (n.d.).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre has also conducted training on climate change in Trinidad and Tobago. In partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the organization implemented a project (2016–2020) on climate change adaptation in 10 Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago. The project aimed to promote the use of climate data and information in decision making, among other components. The Centre also conducts climate training and developed a curriculum for climate change education. The Centre designed a curriculum for children 12–16 years in the Caribbean under the 1.5˚ to Stay Alive campaign ahead of COP15 in 2009.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) highlights that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago conducted training on knowledge management systems and correct collection of data to ensure that the country’s climate change efforts are based on scientific reasoning. Stakeholders are also included in such training. Priority 11 of the Communication is “Capacity-building of civil society organisations through education, awareness and training” (p. 58).
i. Climate change and public awareness
The National Climate Change Policy (2011) aims to “conduct continuous public awareness programmes and initiatives targeting key audiences and utilising a variety of methods and media (including the internet, film and radio” (p. 20).
The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries highlights the need to create public awareness of the financial and ecological costs of energy production and to promote efficient use of electricity. Trinidad and Tobago has designed and is implementing an education campaign on energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy that is integrated into national school curricula for primary and secondary schools.
The National Development Strategy (2016–2030) indicates that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago intends to create a robust education and awareness program to change attitudes and behaviors, including environmental stewardship and awareness of alternative energy. According to the Strategy, this is necessary because “climate change effects such as rising sea levels and temperatures pose real threats to coastal areas, low-lying communities, and farmers. The loss of biodiversity, pollution and degradation of our ecosystems also threaten our quality of life.” (p. 5)
The National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017) states that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago intends to establish a comprehensive program for water resources management and climate change adaptation education, to increase awareness and collective responsibility. According to the Policy, this education and awareness program will include non-traditional public awareness approaches and formal awareness programs in schools and tertiary institutions in addition to the traditional methods such as extension and outreach programs.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) frequently refers to public awareness related to climate change. For example, the Communication highlights the need to increase public awareness for the use of more renewable energy in transportation. It also lists a lack of education and public awareness as a barrier for the use and disposal of wood products.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
According to the National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017), the Government of Trinidad and Tobago indicates its commitment to public access to climate and water resources conservation and management information through various media.
For instance, the Policy states that the government will, consistent with the Freedom of Information Act (2003), provide the public with sufficient quality and quantity of information to empower them to make decisions about the country’s water resources. The Act establishes that “members of the public [have a] general right (with exceptions) of access to official documents of public authorities and for matters related thereto” (p. 5). As a result, the government will provide clear information to the public about water quality and climate adaptation measures. The government also presents to parliament a State of the Water Resources Report every five years, describing the status and trends in quality, quantity, and uses of the country’s water resources and related information on climate change. Nevertheless, Trinidad and Tobago is not part of the Escazú Agreement, the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago established an online portal where the public can access information on climate change and other news. The news website is updated regularly with news, policy briefs, and information on international collaborations on climate change. For instance, the website has information about the government’s climate change initiatives, such as the US$ 5 million fund for the Education & Empowerment Programme for Climate Change Adaptation initiative.
The National Climate Change Policy (2011) indicates that the government recognizes the need to share data and information collected by its agencies. The government will ensure information and data exchange among its multiple agencies to implement this Policy. However, at the time of this review, no policy was found on data and information exchange among the government departments and agencies in Trinidad and Tobago.
iii. Climate change and public participation
In line with the Freedom of Information Act (2003), the National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017) indicates that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago will ensure full participation of the public in planning and implementing the Policy. The aim is to build capacity of water-related stakeholders and all members of society on climate and water resources to provide input into the policy formulation process, strategy management, and implementation and co-management. The government conducted a multistakeholder workshop and public consultations to seek input in preparing the Policy. The consultations were attended by members of the public, members of the cabinet on the technical steering committee, and consultants responsible for drafting the Policy.
Public participation is not often mentioned in the 3rd National Communication (2021). One example is the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Policy (2019) , which states it has the goal to improve public participation mechanisms. Conservation, climate change and development projects in the coastal zone are expected to have accompanying public engagement plans and strategies that go beyond merely what the law stipulates for public consultation.
i. Country monitoring
The Ministry of Planning and Development in Trinidad and Tobago is the lead agency responsible for coordinating all monitoring and evaluation of government programs and climate change. Different agencies conduct their monitoring and evaluation as set in different policies and plans and, in turn, report to the lead Ministry. For instance, the National Development Strategy (2016–2030) states that to monitor its progress and performance, the Ministry will produce a new National Performance Framework that aligns with the National Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals and that each ministry and department will produce ministry-level performance frameworks that align with the National Performance Framework. At the time of this review, the National Performance Framework that Trinidad and Tobago intended to create was not found.
In 2021 the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, collaborated with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the National Red Cross on a nationwide survey to capture citizens’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices toward climate change and its impact on the country. According to a government news website, the survey is intended to enhance climate resilience in Caribbean countries. The results of the survey were not found at the time of this review.
The government has established a standard monitoring procedure to evaluate and report the implementation of policies such as the National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (2017), National Protected Areas Policy (2011), and the National Forest Policy (2011). These policies indicate that the government will work with relevant stakeholders to monitor and evaluate implementation of the policies.
i. Government would coordinate with the Boards of various Committees such as the Forest and Protected Areas Management Authority and Water Resource Management Authority to appoint committees to ensure monitoring and evaluation of the National Protected Areas Policy implementation and National Forest Policy.
ii. Implementing agencies and organizations use science-based monitoring to inform adaptive management.
iii. Ensure that participatory evaluation of the Policy implementation is conducted every two years, using tools such as smaller focus group meetings, interviews, hotlines, and surveys to prepare for an open public forum where progress and results, impacts, and outcomes are reviewed.
iv. Conduct a comprehensive review of the National Protected Areas Policy and National Forest Policy every 10 years.
v. Ensure that any minor revisions or adjustments needed are coordinated by the Forest and Protected Areas Management Authority.
vi. Ensure that reports and results from the monitoring and evaluation process are available to the public.
According to the Nationally Determined Contributions (2018), Trinidad and Tobago has committed to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and reducing them by 15% by 2030 under the business-as-usual scenario, equivalent to a reduction of 103,000,000 tones of CO2 emissions. This reduction targets the three highest-emitting industries of industrial processes and product use, energy, and agriculture, forestry, and other land use. Under transportation, Trinidad and Tobago will monitor emissions and ensure a reduction of up to 30% by 2030, equivalent to 1,700,000 tones of CO2 emissions.
The 3rd National Communication (2021) notes an elaborate monitoring, report, and verification system. The system is primarily designed to track the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, but is also used to track progress of the National Climate Change Policy (2011). Extensive training and knowledge sharing mechanisms are planned in the National Communication.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Change Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the National curricula for Primary and Secondary schools and the Draft Education Policy Paper (2017-2022), the country's Education Sector Plan. The examination sought references to 'climate change' 'biodiversity,' 'sustainability,' and 'environment' themes.
In the Draft Education Policy Paper (2017–2022), ‘climate change’ is mentioned 11 times, ‘sustainability’ 26 times, ‘environment’ 6 times, and ‘biodiversity’ is not mentioned.
In the National curricula for Primary and Secondary schools, ‘climate change’ is mentioned 29 times; ‘biodiversity’ once; ‘general environment’ 215 times; and ‘sustainability’ 13 times.