The project team, in collaboration with the OECS Commission and the AFD, conducted an inception workshop on April 14, 2021 following the March 16 project kick-off. The workshop had participants from the two beneficiary universities, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Université des Antilles (UA) along with stakeholders from a pool of urban planners, other built environment professionals, climate resilience and adaptation experts, gender and social inclusion experts, NGOs and regulatory agencies from the ECS.
The project objectives are:
- to enhance higher education, lifelong learning and skills development on climate change and climate risks, resilience and adaptation options for urban planners, as a vehicle for advancing transformation.
- the development of curricula and pilot a prototype Tailored Open Online Course (TOOC), that can be used to train the current and next generation of urban planners to address climate and other environmental risks in urban areas.
According to Dr. Garfield Young, Dean and Associate Professor at the University of Technology, Jamaica and the project lead, “Eastern Caribbean small island states are highly urbanised, with populations concentrated in coastal areas that are exposed to hurricanes, storm surge and flooding, which are all likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Urban planners and other built environment professionals will need to be equipped with the tools, expertise and critical thinking to help transform these cities into safe, viable, prosperous places to live and work.” One participant of the inception workshop reinforced the relevance of project stating that, “while urban planning curricula include varying levels of content on climate related matters, and there is a proliferation of online courses, none of these are tailored to the needs and circumstances of urban communities in the Eastern Caribbean.”
The project will develop the TOOC through a collaborative process that involves input from three levels of participants and will be guided by a carefully developed monitoring & evaluation and learning framework. The project is expected to be completed by October 2021 with the rollout of the TOOC for the identified beneficiaries as well as a continuous professional development (CPD) course for persons working in areas of urban planning, climate reliance and climate adaptation. Participation from stakeholders from across the OECS and wider Caribbean is encouraged for the best outcomes from this important project.