The Caribbean GeoStats Awareness Programme Takes Flight: “Caribbean Together- Everyone Counts!”

The Caribbean region witnessed another significant step forward in strengthening integration among geospatial technology, statistics and education. On Thursday, October 12, 2023, the Caribbean GeoStats Awareness Programme – Caribbean Together: Everyone Counts, was launched with online participation from over 50 representatives spanning government, academia, and the private sector. Representatives from countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, the Bahamas, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and St Lucia were among the many who joined the launch. This launch took place ahead of the fifteenth Caribbean Statistics Day which will be celebrated on October 15, 2023.

In his opening, remarks Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS, expressed his enthusiasm, stating that the OECS Commission was

“excited to introduce the GeoStats Awareness Programme: ‘Caribbean Together – Everyone Counts’. Our expectation is that this initiative will make a major contribution to building a culture of spatial thinking in our region.”

He also emphasized that,

“This program will also provide a reinstatement of geography as a necessary component of Caribbean education”.

The launch event was enriched by insights from the GeoStats Coordination Committee, including members from the University of the West Indies St. Augustine, Esri and GeoTechVision. The 2022 competition winner, of the Caribbean Our Story Competition, Shaughna-Lee Steele also graced the occasion and shared what she learned and strengthened her knowledge on the use of geospatial tools.

The GeoStats Awareness Programme, which promises a series of enlightening events and activities, extends an open invitation to teachers and students across the Caribbean to participate. It culminates with the GeoStats Student Competition winners being announced in February 2024. Potential participants are encouraged to visit the GeoStats Awareness website for a comprehensive overview of the program and its offerings.

Another significant date to note is Wednesday, November 15, 2023, GIS Day. Many educational events that share how GIS helps to analyze earth’s information, informs decision-making, create a positive impact within communities and teach and inspire others will be hosted across the region in recognition of this day.

At its core, the GeoStats Awareness Programme is designed to create awareness and new knowledge among Caribbean youths about the benefits and use of geospatial technologies and statistics. Through engaging educational experiences, expert insights, hands-on applications, and community involvement, the next generation will be empowered to contribute to data-driven decision-making and problem-solving, ensuring a brighter future for the people of the Caribbean. The Programme is a joint initiative of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management Regional Committee for the: Americas, the CARIGEO coordinating group with the support of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), CARICOM, Esri and other regional and global organizations.

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