Kingston, Jamaica was the chosen location to hold the first Caribbean INGSA Capacity Building Workshop, which took place on the 20th and 21st of February 2018. The activity was attended by around 40 emerging and established scientists and policymakers from the Caribbean, as well as representatives from various science-promoting organizations such as UNESCO, The Royal Society, CDEMA, ICSU ROLAC, and others.
On day one, the Honorable Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley opened the workshop by addressing the attendees and welcoming them into this two-day workshop. Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, lectured the audience on the topic “Principles & Structures of Science Advice”. Then, the audience was able to participate in a case study which was led by Prof. Fitzroy Henry, University of Technology. The objective of the case was to demonstrate that a single problem can have multiple and complex issues and perspectives which should not be ignored but rather explored and studied on the basis of scientific data. After the case study, Ronald Jackson, CDEMA executive director, had a presentation called “The Role of Science in Emergency Response and Management in the Caribbean”. Lidia Brito, Director, UNESCO Regional Bureau of Science for LAC, lectured on the topic “Aligning Science and Policy Development with the Sustainable Development Goals”. Finally, Sir Peter Gluckman wrapped up the meeting and provided closing remarks for the day.
Day two of the workshop started with a lectured entitled “Science Advice in the Broader Context – Interactions with Public, Law, and Parliament” which was led by Dr. Julie Maxton, from the Royal Society. Then, most of the second day was dedicated to an interactive activity in which the public was divided into three groups. Then, each person in the group was given a fictional government role that was supposed to play based on built characters and guidelines previously given by the organizers. The central theme of the game was to understand how complex reality is when it comes to policy making and how science advice, as well as data, can play a central role for answering to key problems of today’s society.
ICSU ROLAC (El Salvador, C.A.) was represented by Dr. Carlos Abeledo, Chair of the INGSA LAC Steering Committee, and by MA. Oscar Reyes, ICSU ROLAC Science Officer. Having participated in this activity re-states the willingness of ICSU-ROLAC in pursuing one of ICSU’s main pillars: Science for Policy.