Two women walk away from a rocky beach with rough waves.

USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Regional Climate Symposium Virtual Series: June 16 – 30, 2021


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission (ESC) hosted an eight-session climate change symposium from June 16 to June 30, 2021. This virtual symposium was held against the backdrop of the United States rejoining the Paris Agreement and placing the climate crisis at the center of United States foreign policy. The symposium included presentations and panel discussions to support the region’s preparation for COP26 and galvanize cooperation and partnerships that will advance regional climate action.

High-level speakers from USAID/ESC and its partners discussed the ecological and human dimensions of climate change, contextualized the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region’s response, and sought solutions to address climate impacts. Download the symposium synthesis report here

To learn more about a resilience assessment conducted by the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission to support its 2020-2025 Regional Development Cooperation Strategy, read this blog

Details on each of the individual sessions are available at the links below:


Opening Session: Refresh, Renew, Re-pivot for Climate Action

The opening session of the symposium featured high-level remarks from U.S. Government officials and partners, a poetry performance, and a live signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between regional organizations, including the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, and USAID.

Opening session summary | Webinar recording | Video: “After the Flood” - poem bv Deneka Thomas


Session II. Climate Change: Current Impacts and Future Projections

This session of the symposium focused on the interactions between climate change and people in the region highlighting current, effective tools for addressing its impacts. The event featured climate science specialists from the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, and the University of the West Indies. 

Session II summary | Session II handout | Presenter slides | Webinar recording | Video: “Wise up! Heads up! Wake up!” - Dr. Michael Taylor on climate change in the Caribbean


Session III. Social, Health, and Economic Impacts of Climate Change

This panel discussion focused on the social, health, and economic impacts of climate change in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region, including the ways that COVID-19 has exacerbated climate impacts. Panelists also discussed how climate action and efforts to promote gender equality and social inclusion can complement each other to strengthen resilience for vulnerable groups. The panel featured speakers from the Caribbean Development Bank, Caribbean Public Health Agency, Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF, and UN Women. 

Session III summary | Session III handout | Presenter slides | Webinar recording 


Session IV. Listening to the Field: Climate Impacts on Key Sectors

This panel discussion focused on prioritising the climate impacts that require support at the sectoral level, considering them in the context of COVID-19. Panelists discussed how to strengthen resilience, highlighting cutting-edge innovations to help transform the water, energy, agriculture, and tourism sectors over the next decade. The panel featured specialists from these sectors, including perspectives from a youth representative. 

Session IV summary | Session IV handout | Webinar recording 


Session V. National Responses to Climate Change

In this session, government representatives shared success stories of national responses to climate change and discussed gaps and opportunities for regional support. Panelists also identified priority areas for national governments to support moving forward. The panel featured regional government representatives from Guyana, Suriname, Saint Lucia, Barbados, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission.

Session V summary | Session V handout | Presenter slides | Webinar recording | Video: Andrew Bishop on Guyana's national climate response


Session VI. Youth Impact and Engagement on Climate Change

This session highlighted success stories of youth engagement for climate resilience, as well as challenges and gaps that need to be addressed to strengthen climate resilience. Panelists determined priority areas for youth action and discussed potential pathways for funding to engage youth in climate action. The panel featured youth leaders from across the Caribbean.

Session VI summary | Session VI handout | Webinar recording | Video: Jevanic Henry on “the 3Bs” of climate action


Session VII. Financing for Adaptation and Risk Reduction

This session highlighted innovative financial instruments in the region, as well as  how to involve social financial institutions, and the type of instruments most needed in climate finance. The panel featured speakers from the Green Climate Fund, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

Session VII summary | Session VII handout | Presenter slides | Webinar recording 


Session VIII and Symposium Closing: USAID Approaches for Responding to Climate Change

The final session of the symposium highlighted USAID best practices and approaches to climate change. Speakers identified potential areas and opportunities USAID can further support to strengthen regional climate resilience. It featured speakers from the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation. The session concluded with a musical performance from regional artist Jabari Browne.

Session VIII summary | Session VIII handout | Presenter slides | Webinar recording | Video: “Pay Attention to Climate Change” - rap by Jabari Browne