October marked a turning point for the Caribbean2030 initiative. Convened in 2015 with the aim of encouraging innovative thinking for the Caribbean region, the diverse, forward-thinking group gathered – for the second time in the UK – at Wilton Park (West Sussex).
The genesis of the network, as explained by economist Dr Damien King, Co-Executive Director of the Kingston-based Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), is the realisation that “we may need to conceive of a vision for the Caribbean beyond what the existing institutional structures are designed for”.
According to the Body in a release, it is for this reason that it convened its first meeting in June 2015, with politicians, innovators, entrepreneurs, education leaders, communications specialists, diaspora members and more in a bid to bring together the new and next generations of Caribbean leaders and build an entrepreneurial spirit of collaboration across the region.
The second meeting recently held in the UK saw local Guyanese representatives selected by the British High Commission. They were Clairemont Cummings (Co-founder and Managing Director of the Corum Group), Ryan Hoppie (Founder of the Come Alive Network Inc), and Rosh Khan (Founder / Director of SocialRank Media and the Masterclass Institute). Rosh Khan was also asked to facilitate a group session on the topic of Open Data.
According to the Network “priority was given – as a strategy was outlined through a full schedule of working groups and plenary sessions – to initiatives with high potential for impact, enabled by leveraging the skills and networks available within the group as well as the research published by CAPRI in both areas, which will serve as a theoretical basis for evidence-based action.”
The third, and latest Caribbean 2030 meeting, held on October 12-14, focused on two of the priority themes: IT Infrastructure and Open Data towards Good Governance, and Green Growth.
The Caribbean2030 Leaders’ Network defined Open Data as the “proactive release of Government Data in a format that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone for any purpose” and in articulating the need for countries to adopt an Open Data policy outlined that “it has been instrumental, where adopted, in improving efficiency within administrations, as well as ensuring accountability within government structures. It has also been a driver for entrepreneurship, providing emerging services with the data needed to best tailor their product to the needs of an ever-evolving market, as well as for job creation, in light of the need for the provided data to be analysed.”
In hoping to build a culture of openness and transparency, the Caribbean2030 Leaders’ Network will be seeking, over the course of the next year, the following actions:
1 – Advocating for governments to promulgate Open Data Policy and relevant Access to Information acts where they do not currently exist;
2 – Amplifying the work of the Caribbean Open Institute as it seeks to advance the Open Data agenda across the Caribbean;
3 – Promoting transparency and good governance principles.
Green Growth, the second area of focus for the Network, was defined as the means by which the current economy can make the transition to a sustainable economy. In this field, the following targets have been set, and divided between members of the new Leaders’ Network:
1 – Advancing Sustainable Waste Management practices through input to styrofoam and plastic policy processes in Jamaica, and application of relevant best practices to other Caribbean islands;
2 – Evaluating SDG and BCorp indicators in relation to the Caribbean, and adopting/adapting relevant indicators, in order to attract sustainable investments to the region;
3 – Evaluating current perverse incentives seen as barriers to green growth, and advocating for the elimination of certain of those incentives.
The Caribbean2030 Leaders’ Network said that CAPRI, which has been instrumental in coordinating the activities of the first three Caribbean2030 meetings, will take on, over the course of the next year, the role of a Secretariat for the newly formed body, ensuring accountability throughout the process, as well as optimal communication within the group.