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Enhancing Caribbean Development Using Data, Geospatial Information, and Environmental Monitoring: Building a Regional Environmental Information ecoSystem (REIS)

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The University of the West Indies (UWI), United Nations Environment Programme - Cartagena Convention Secretariat (UNEP-CEP), the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Americas through The Caribbean Geospatial Development Initiative (CARIGEO) and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC).

Event Objective

To highlight the pivotal role of digital technologies, authoritative data, and geospatial information in advancing environmental and developmental initiatives and aiding sound decision making across the Caribbean. This event will explore the operational framework and collaborative mechanisms of the Regional Environmental Information ecosystem (REIS), aiming to enhance data management, environmental monitoring and assessment, and informed policy and decision making, thereby contributing to the SIDS4 goal of Resilient Prosperity.


Date and Location:

Tuesday May 28th, 2024 at 8:00-9:30 AM, in Room 7, American University of Antigua, Jabberwock Rd, Osbourn, Antigua & Barbuda 


Target Audience

Policymakers, environmentalists, academia, researchers, technologists, and other key stakeholders involved in environmental management and policy formulation in the Caribbean.


Expected Outcomes




  1. Participants will have greater appreciation for geospatial and environmental management activities in the region
  2. They will help to champion geospatial, digital and environmental matters
  3. Participants will understand the importance of fit for purpose data, its availability and accessibility
  4. The event will foster new partnerships and strengthen existing ones among regional stakeholders, facilitating shared initiatives and collaborative projects



  1. Policymakers and practitioners will acquire actionable insights and best practices for integrating digital and geospatial technologies into their work, contributing to more informed decision-making and policy formulation.


H.E. Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS

His Excellency Dr. Didacus Jules assumed the post of Director General of the OECS in May 2014. He is responsible for driving the regional integration thrust towards a single economic and social space involving ten Eastern Caribbean States. Dr. Didacus Jules had extensive regional and international experience. He served as Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Examinations Council (2008-2014) leading a thorough modernization of the Council. Dr. Jules has also served as Vice President of Human Resources Cable and Wireless Saint Lucia (2005-2008); Permanent Secretary for Education & Human Resource Development Saint Lucia (1997-2008) as well as Permanent Secretary for Education and Chief Education Officer in revolutionary Grenada from 1981-1983.

Dr. Didacus Jules has provided consultancy services to national governments, regional and international organisations in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and North America. He has also served on many private sectors, educational, and philanthropic boards. Dr. Didacus Jules holds a BA (Hons) from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill, an MSc in Curriculum & Instruction and a PhD in Educational Policy and Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as an MBA from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill.


Hon. Kerryne James, Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment & Renewable Energy, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her role. Graduating with honours from St. George’s University in 2021, she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and an Associate of Arts & Science degree from T.A. Marryshow Community College.

Before her ministerial appointment in June 2022, Hon. James served as a Senator in Grenada’s Upper House from 2018 to 2020 and held leadership positions within the National Democratic Congress. Her commitment to sustainable development and youth empowerment has been evident throughout her political career, making her the youngest Parliamentarian in Grenada's history.

Hon. Kerryne James's passion for creating a resilient and environmentally conscious future drives her work as Minister, ensuring Grenada remains at the forefront of climate action.


Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

Chamberlain Emmanuel is Director of the Environmental Sustainability Division (ESD) at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and a member of the Commission’s Leadership Team.Chamberlain leads a portfolio of integrated programmes and projects spanning: Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Ecosystem Services; Climate Change & Disaster Resilience; Sustainable Energy; and Sustainable Ocean Management.He is at the forefront of a team which is designing, promoting and supporting more sustainable – Green | Blue | Circular | Low-carbon | Resilient - approaches to socio-economic development in the OECS..  Chamberlain has over twenty-three years of professional experience with qualifications including: Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MSc), Civil Engineering (BSc); Development & Project Planning (Dip); Project Management (PMP).Chamberlain remains “connected” through community, youth and values-oriented initiatives and social enterprise.


Mr. Christopher Corbin is the Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Cartagena Convention Secretariat based in Kingston, Jamaica. He assumed these duties as of 2022.  Chris has been with UNEP since 2004 and prior to assuming the role of Coordinator, was the Programme Manager for its Marine Pollution Programme.

Chris facilitated the development of and co-authored the region’s first Regional Marine Litter Action Plan and Regional Marine Litter Strategy as well as the first State of Convention Area Report on Marine Pollution.

Mr Corbin, a Saint Lucian national, has over 30 years of national and regional programme and project management experience and has been involved in several intergovernmental processes and discussions for improving ocean governance, marine pollution, and water resources management in the Wider Caribbean Region. He has also organized and provided Secretariat support to Intergovernmental meetings of Contracting Parties to the Cartagena Convention and its Protocols. 

Prior to joining UNEP, Chris represented the Government of Saint Lucia in regional and international negotiations including on oceans, marine pollution, and sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.

Ms. Kate Wilson

A native of Saint Lucia, Ms. Wilson holds a Master of Laws Degree (Hons) in International Trade Law from the University of Toronto, Canada; Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from Kings College, University of London, UK; Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Mass Communication and Social Sciences from UWI and a Post Graduate Diploma in Radio from CARIMAC, Jamaica. A member of the Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, she is a strong advocate for the environment, gender issues and the rights of women and children, and has served on several committees such as the Child Advocacy Committee, The International Year of the Family Committee, the National Task Force for Discipline, and has worked with many NGOs locally. In 1993, she created the Youth Parliament which remains a stable feature of the national calendar of the Ministry of Youth. Some awards she has received include the UWI Arts Faculty Award (1987/88); The Ministry of Education Award for the promotion of discipline nationwide and the Ministry of Youth Award for the creation of Youth Parliament. She loves the ocean, the countryside, the Theatre and Opera, singing, dancing, writing short stories, and poetry.

She currently serves as Legal Officer for the Department of Sustainable Development a division of the Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, as well as the National Focal Point for the Escazú Agreement and the Montevideo V Programme for the periodic review and development of International Environmental Law. She also represents the Caribbean within the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) grouping, on the first ever Steering Committee of the Montevideo V Programme.


 Simone M. Lloyd, GISP is an internationally certified geospatial professional, project manager, educator and trainer with a wealth of 17 years’ experience contributing to the development of Jamaica’s geospatial landscape, in addition to regional and international geospatial initiatives. She currently serves as the Senior GIS Manager and Trainer within the National Spatial Data Management Branch of Jamaica's Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation. She has previously served as the Principal Director (Acting) for multiple extended periods. Her current main responsibilities include managing the operations of the GIS Training, Education and Public Awareness Unit; coordinating, developing and delivering five (5) geospatial training and educational initiatives. She has coordinated numerous national geospatial projects, geospatial policy development, geospatial events and programmes, including the Land Information Council of Jamaica’s (LICJ) GIS Training Programme, the GIS in Schools Education Programme (GISSEP), the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) / Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) Enterprise Agreement programme, the Enterprise License Agreement for Schools Programme (ELAFS), the National Emergency Response GIS Team (NERGIST), the NERGIST Human Capacity Development Programme, Jamaica’s over 20 years history of annual staging of Geography Awareness Week and National GIS Day events and activities amongst others.

She possesses over 5 years’ experience serving as Jamaica’s Focal Point and Head of Delegation to the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Group of Experts and its Americas Regional Committee. Additionally, she serves as the Caribbean Vocal on the UN-GGIM: Americas Board of Directors and the UN-GGIM: Americas' Caribbean Geospatial Development Initiative (CARIGEO) Steering Committee. Simone also provides Jamaica co-chairmanship support and has led three Task Groups within the UN-GGIM Working Group on Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters and is its representative to the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group (WG) on Disasters, Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS) WG Disasters, World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC) Disaster Resilience Working Group and Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Disaster Pilot Project. Simone also serves as an Americas member on the High-Level Group on Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (HLG-IGIF), is a former Co-Lead of the HLG-IGIF’s ‘Working Group on Mobilizing Sustainable Funding’ and currently serves as its Co-lead of the ‘Task Group on Supporting Member States to understand potential funding sources and modalities to foster and support implementation of the IGIF’.

Additionally, Simone serves as the Caribbean Lead on the International Federation of Surveyors’ (FIG) America Capacity Development Network.

Simone also possesses over 20 years’ experience serving as a Geography and Geospatial educator/lecturer to multiple secondary and tertiary-level educational institutions in Jamaica.

In closing, Simone holds a Master of Science degree in Geoinformatics from the University of the West Indies-St. Augustine, and three post graduate diplomas in Geoinformatics (University of the West Indies-St. Augustine), GIS for Land Management (University of Technology, Jamaica) and Geography and Social Studies Education (University of the West Indies-Mona) and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Geography with minor in Geology (University of the West Indies-Mona). 


Valrie Grant is an award-winning entrepreneur, Geospatial and Strategy consultant.  She is the Founder and Chairwoman of GeoTechVision, a knowledge services company. Valrie is a lifelong learner, who is passionate about Technology and Entrepreneurship and relishes every opportunity to mentor women entrepreneurs and young people.

Valrie Grant is a strategic advisor on geospatial matters to the OECS Commission. One of her initiatives is EduTechAid which seeks to respond to the inequality of access to digital tools in education and empower youths.  She has served on several national, regional and international Boards and Committees such as the World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC) and the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM): Americas Private Sector Network for which she is the current Chair. She is also the vice-chair of UN-GGIM PSN at the global level. Valrie is a 2020 WE Empower UN Sustainability Development Goals Challenge Awardee. She has authored the books “Every Day is Day One : Maintaining the Startup Culture and Mindset” and “Hills and Valleys: Poems of Resilience.”

She holds a BSc. in Geology from the University of West Indies and a MSc. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Environment from the Manchester Metropolitan University, an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology and is currently a doctoral candidate with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where her research is focused on “ Factors influencing the adoption of National Geospatial Information Management (NGIM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the moderating effects of localization ”.






Julian Walcott is a highly motivated, self-driven, scientist with a passion for the conservation of the environment and natural resources. His work in this field began in 2006 as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), UWI Cave Hill Campus.  At present, he serves as the Technical Officer for a regional resource and information hub pertaining to biodiversity and protected and conserved areas (i.e., the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway). As Technical Officer, he spearheads the scientific and technical endeavors of the CPAG, fostering collaborations with external partners committed to conservation. He champions the role of data and analysis in driving effective conservation initiatives. Julian mentors CPAG staff, ensuring the overall quality and scientific rigor of their outputs.


Hyacinth Armstrong-Vaughn is a Protected Areas Officer with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).She is an experienced management professional with over 15 years’ of experience in natural resource conservation. Her work has focused on educating communities and citizens about the importance and value of the Caribbean’s rich natural heritage; and improving the capacity of institutions, communities and individuals to manage the natural environment better, especially in protected areas, across the Caribbean.Mrs. Armstrong-Vaughn is coordinating the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme for the Caribbean, which aims to improve the management and governance of protected areas through the provision of tools, services and funding for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. She works closely with the Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway, a resource hub for biodiversity and protected area data and information, currently hosted at the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at The University of the West Indies in Barbados. She is a national of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.


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