PANOS CARIBBEAN recently launched its new online database - complete with video conferencing capabilities - that is designed to enhance networking and promote collaboration among regional stakeholders on, among other things, biodiversity conservation and climate change.
Dubbed the Panos Information Portal (PIP), the database was developed by Dr Maurice McNaughton and a team from the Centre of Excellence at the Mona School of Business and Management, with funding support from two Panos projects.
The projects are 'Caribbean Knowledge Economy: Supporting New Communication Mechanisms for Linking Research, Policy and Advocacy' and 'Enhancing the Resilience of Caribbean Civil Society in Biodiversity Conservation Through Local and Regional Networking and Effective Sharing of Learning and Best Practices'. They were financed through the Canada-based International Development Research Centre and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) out of the United States, respectively.
PIP, McNaughton explained, is comprised of an "online database management system to represent various categories of individuals and institutions" and is an "indexed, searchable catalogue of electronic resource materials" with a contact constituency management system, including targeted mailings, event management, and participant confirmations.
The database currently has 44 institutional contacts from 10 countries, 100 media contacts from 14 countries, 690 people contacts from 20 countries, and 13 documents that will be made openly available to the public.
"The Panos Information Portal will enable not just contact management, but community engagement," said McNaughton.
Further, he said, it would tap into the "wisdom of the crowd", affording opportunities for "self-service updates, crowdsourcing, online surveys and peer-to-peer sharing, interaction and exchange".
Meanwhile, the launch, held last week Friday at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, also saw the establishment of Panos Caribbean as a regional hub for climate change information under its Germanwatch-financed Adaptation Fund NGO Network project.
"If we can take some lessons learnt from our project under the CEPF in Caribbean conservation, much work is being done by a variety of groups, but there is not enough coordination or sharing of knowledge. So projects and activities are duplicated and resources are not maximised," said Panos' regional coordinator Indi Mclymont Lafayette.
"We want to pre-empt that in the area of adaptation [and climate change in general] where there is a mechanism from the outset that will capture information," she added.
As a regional hub, Panos will serve as a repository for information on climate change that will be loaded on to its new online database to afford the public access.