IDB Group- V Caribbean Civil Society Forum
World Environment Day is celebrated worldwide on 5th June each year.
At the recent IDB Civil Society Meeting in Trinidad & Tobago, representing NGO’s, CBO’s, Civil Society, President of the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, Molly R. Gaskin talked about the role and value of Civil Society pointing out that Civil society, NGO’s, CBO’s, IDB’s ConSoc group’s role, is as catalysts to bring about co-operation between Agencies that are otherwise constrained by bureaucracies. Civil society, NGO’s are the voice of the people. Our policies and actions are and must always
be, based on facts, sustainability and wise use. We network, locally, regionally and internationally.
We identify possible impacts and recommend specific studies that can provide information on anticipated or previously experienced negative impacts and thus offer effective solutions. We are diverse, some of us are fiercely independent, we stand up for what we believe in and will not tolerate interference nor manipulation. We however, are unified in our goals for the betterment of our Peoples and our Countries.
We can and do effectively lobby, as respected, independent, special-interest groups.
Together, there is a pool of expertise, which can be tapped; our advantage being, again,
the lack of bureaucracy. We ensure that balanced, rational solutions to conflicts between “economic development” on one hand and the preservation of the natural environment and thus the Quality of Life for
People, on the other, are examined and heard….if not always reached! Some recent examples come to mind!
Civil society groups, play a critical role in holding those in authority accountable for their decisions and actions.
What is the future for us? Where do we go from here? Well, if the views of the People, NGO’s and Civil Society are not heard; if there is no full and sincere
consultation and our views are not reflected in the positions of our prominent private sector, our cumbersome State institutions, the Governments of the day……. our already
overtaxed resources will be increasingly over-exploited and degraded. The presence of NGO’s, working together with Government and governmental departments, can provide, will provide a co-agency, bridging gaps, reducing conflicts and ensuring sustainable exploration and development…. rather than exploitation.
That is our role, our intention, our goal. That is the way forward for us.
President, The Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust