Caribbean Urban Forum 2017 – Don’t miss the conversation !

 The 7th annual Caribbean Urban Forum is held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize from the 17th– 19th May 2017. The focus this year is on Green Energy, Green Economy and Green Space. The agenda below shows the broadness of the discussions.

Register now for the conference by sending an email to belizeplanners@gmail.com

DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY 17th MAY 2017
7:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m OPENING CEREMONY (Room A)
10:45  a.m. – 11:00 a.m. COFFEE BREAK
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m Room A

Sub-theme: Green Economy

Session 1a


Session moderator: Marcus Mayr

Stemming the flow:  Exploring youth entrepreneurship and LED in the Caribbean – Kizzann Lee Sam and Natalia Ramdoo

Strengthening of livelihoods and the informal economy during Informal Settlement Upgrading with link to the green economy – An examination by the Participatory Slum Upgrading Program (PSUP) – Katja Dietrich and Juan Luis Arango

Local Economic Development and the Local Government – The Case of the City of Belmopan

Room B

Sub-theme : Green Energy

Session 1a
Session moderator:

Energy, Poverty and Urban Transportation – Implications for the Urban Sustainability of Belize City – Major Lloyd Jones

The challenges of Healthier and Popular Urban transport – Alfred Kwasi Opoku


Room C

Sub-theme : Green Space

Session 1c


Session moderator:  Sohel Rana


A short course on public space assessment and planning.



Room D

Cross-cutting Sub-theme:

Session 1d


Session moderator: Asad Mohammed

Caribbean Working Group on Implementation Plan for New Urban Agenda/HABITAT III

 (Closed meeting)

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m LUNCH
1:p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Room A

Sub-theme: Green Energy

Session 2a


Session moderator: Dr. Perry Polar

The use of algae as a sustainable fuel and food source to supplement resources in the Caribbean region Mrs. Shari Benn-Ogeer, Dr Roger Deo (Lecturer) and Dr David Janes

Hydropower from Municipal Water Supply Reservoir – Asif Mohammed

Feasibility of co-located offshore wind and wave energy generation – Tiffany White

Implementing the Smart Hospital Toolkit: Implications for Broader Policy Application for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Resilience in Belize – Douglas M. O. Westby and Keisha Rodriguez

Room B

Sub-theme:  Green Space

Session 2b


Session moderator: Dr. Carol Archer

Reimagining Speightstown in the Context of Contemporary Spatial Classifications – Godfrey St. Bernard and Marsha Hinds-Layne

The Impact and challenges of Increasing Densities and Heights within the Kingston metropolitan area (KMA) of Jamaica – Leonard Francis

Synergies in the Urban Rehabilitation of Bridgetown – Sharon M. Griffith and Charles C. Holder

Providing Solutions to Engineering Pitfalls In Hydraulically Sensitive Areas – Wilfredo Ernesto Guerrero

Room C

Sub-theme : Green Space

Session 2c


Session moderator: Sohel Rana


 A short course on public space assessment and planning (continued)



2:45 p.m. –  3:00 p.m. COFFEE BREAK
3:00 p.m. -5:00pm Room A

Session 3a

Meeting of the Central American Association of Municipal Councils (CAMCAYA)

(Closed meeting)

Room B

Session 3b

Caribbean Planners Association Annual Meeting


Room c

Session 3b

Hosted by the Belmopan City Council


Finals/ Awards Ceremony Minecraft



DAY 2 – THURSDAY 18th MAY 2017
8:00 a.m. -. 9:00 a.m. CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
8:15 a.m. –

10:00 a.m.

Room A

Sub-theme : Green Energy

Session 4a


Session moderator: Marcus Mayr

Green Building in Trinidad and Tobago – Constraints and Opportunities: An exploratory approach – Dr. Samantha Chadee and Prof. Valerie Stoute

A Business Case for Green Buildings in Small Island Developing States-A Caribbean Perspective – Ryan Cudjoe

How the adoption of a green building certification program or rating system can improve the efficacy of the T&T planning system – Petal Joseph

Institutional and Regulatory Co-ordination in the Implementation of Energy Efficient Lighting Standards: The Case of the Eastern Caribbean – Dr. Kalim Shah.

Room B

Sub-theme : Green Space

Session 4b


Session moderator: XXX

Plenary Speaker

Gilberto Chona. Lead Specialist, Urban Economics.
Inter-American Development



Inequality, Sprawl and Urban Sustainability in Caribbean Cities: Evidence from The IDB’s Emerging and Sustainable Cities Program


Room C

Sub-theme:  Green Space

Session 4c


Session moderator: XXX

Addressing Coastal Adaptation in the Caribbean: Perspectives from IDB Operations and Research


10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. COFFEE BREAK
10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Room A

Sub-theme : Green Space

Session 5a


Session moderator: XXX

Medicinal Plants: The Blueprints of a New Urban Legacy – Alana Abdool

Small-Scale Economic Development through Agriculture – Abigail Moriah

Planning for Resilience: Using Agricultural Cooperatives to Address Food Security in Belize – Zachary Haigh

Creating and Securing Green Space through Cultural Strength: Belize a Case Study – Cynthia Ellis-Topsey

Room B

Sub-theme : Green Economy

Session 5b


Session moderator: XXX

The resource curse, Corporate Social Responsibility and the Host Community Dependency: Evidence from Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname for Guyana – Dr. Roger Hosein and Dr. Daren Conrad

The production of cementitious materials from seawater to supplement building requirements in the Caribbean – Dr. Roger Deo

A Study of the Georgetown Parking Meter Project and the Struggle to Transform the City into a Green and Sustainable Environment – Dr. Patrick E. Williams

The role of the Environment in Belize City Branding – Celishia Guy, Jasmin Swan, Louis Thompson and Shola Babb

Room C

Sub-theme : Green Space

Session 5c


Session moderator: Dr. Cesar Boullion

Challenges to Low-Income Housing and Neighborhood Upgrading in the Caribbean”


Panelist: Robin Rajack (IADB), Gilberto Chona (IADB), TBA (Belize Ministry of Housing and Urban Development), TBA (Jamaica); TBA (Guyana or Suriname).


12:00 p.m. – 1:00p.m. LUNCH
1:00 p.m. –

4:30 p.m.

Session 6a

Experiential tours – Departing from the Radisson Fort George Hotel

Experiencing the Waterfront and Historic Downtown Belize City: a look at the opportunities and challenges for a revitalized downtown district.

Examining the Concept of a Metro Belize City: a look at the spatial growth patterns and expansion of Belize City and surrounding communities, including planning and environmental issues, potential economic activity, squatter type settlements and challenges to mobility.

Embracing the Water City: a look at the potential for development and risks to Haulover Creek, the Belize River and the city’s coastline, including flooding and preserving the marine ecology.

 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Room A

Session 7a

Hosted by the Belmopan City Council

and Mayor’s Forum

Hosts: Mayor Darrell Bradley (Belize City Council)

Panelists: Mayor Donovan Mitchell (Manchester Parish Council), Jamaica), Mayor Edwin Escobar (Villa Nueva City, Guatemala), Chairman Terry Rondon (Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, Trinidad & Tobago), Mayor Khalid Belisle (Belmopan City Council, Belize), President Yoland Jno Jules (CALGA), and Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath (The University of the West Indies).



DAY 3 – FRIDAY 19th MAY 2017
8:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m. CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
8:15 a.m.-  9:45 a.m Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 8c


Session moderator: XXX

Cities and Climate Change in the Caribbean

Panelists: Keith Nicholas (Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre) and Marcus Mayr (UN-Habitat).

9:45  a.m. – 10:00 a.m. COFFEE BREAK
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m Room A

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 9 a


Session moderator: Kizzann Le Sam

Lessons and Practices in Comprehensive Community Renewal – Abigail Moriah

Local initiatives towards local economic development in Suriname – Negretha Amiemba

Our Voices, Our Outcomes: The Case of the Implementation of Phase II of the UN-Habitat Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme in Jamaica – Doreen M. Prendergast

The Difference Green Space Can Make: Exploring an Urban Parks System for Belize City – Connecting Families with Greenspace for Justice and Resiliency – Kareem M. Usher and Keisha Rodriguez



Room B

Sub-theme: Green Economy

Session 9b


Session moderator: Carol Archer

National Land Use Policy and Physical Development Plan for the Commonwealth of Dominica – Rory Baksh, Annie Edwards, Michel Frojmovic

Community Benefits Agreements as a policy tool for community development and its  application to Ambergris  Caye, Belize:  A  guiding framework – Eric J. Sanchez

Sustainable Barranco: A ‘Bottom Up’ Village Revival Master Plan – Kenneth Williams

The Green Economy and Housing – Practical, Pragmatic or Pitiful? – Dereck Alleyne and Raymond Lorde

Room C

Sub-theme: Green Space –

Session 9c


Session moderator: XXX


Belmopan Urban Development – Towards a sustainable garden city.


Panelists: Marcus Mayr (UN-Habitat), Rogier Van Den Berg (UN-Habitat) and Mayor Khalid Belisle (Belmopan City Council, Belize).



 11:30 p.m – 12:30 p.m. LUNCH
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Room A

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 10a


Session moderator: XXX

Adapting to Climate Change: Potential Lessons for the Caribbean – Dr. Gary Davidson & Ms. Beate Bowron

Emergent Risks from Rapid industrialization in the Caribbean – Dr Roger Deo

Promoting Climate Change Resilient Strategies for Poor Urban Communities in Guyana: A Case Study of Tiger Bay – Patrick Williams and Linda Bhola-Johnson

Assessing Alternative Resiliency Strategies in Under-resourced Coastal Communities in Belize Impacted by Climate Change and Vulnerable to Environmental Risk – James Kostaras, Elda Solloso and Maren Larsen

Room B

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 10b


Session moderator: XXX

Understanding the process of waterfront development in Belize; perspectives from the coast – Devan Cronshaw

Sustainable Local Water Governance: the right connections – Darwin Horning

Enhancing Coastal Resilience in the Grenville Bay Area (Grenada) with the use of nature-based solutions – AWE’s Case Study – Nealla Frederick and Vera Agostini


Room C

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 10c


Session moderator: XXX

Community participation for safe, accessible and inclusive public spaces: UN-Habitat’s Experience.



2:00 p.m. –  2:15 p.m. COFFEE BREAK
2:15 p.m. -3:45pm Room A

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 11a


Session moderator: XXX

Ecological Space In Urban Communities- Kingston As An Ecological Space – Leonard Francis, Toni- Ann Reid and Winston Quest

Blue-Green Networks as a spatial development strategy – the case of Belmopan, Belize – Marcus Mayr, Chandra Rouse, Rogier van den Berg

Urban Green Spaces: Use them or lose them? – Carren Williams

Room B

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 11b


Session moderator: XXX

Placemaking and conflict in inner-urban community: the case of Tivoli Gardens, Kingston Jamaica – Earl Bailey

How Policy Mobilities Immobilize Planning in Haiti? – Sophonie M. Joseph

Health, Human Rights and Greening: Investing for a Sustainable Belizean future – Allison Green, Shawon Davis and Tisa Grant

Call to Action:  Local Governance leadership in Caribbean development – CALGA

Room C

Sub-theme: Green Space

Session 11c


Session moderator: XXX


Living Streets – Steve Kemp and Charlotte Kemp

Really Involving Stakeholders in Conservation Planning: Case studies of stakeholders’ feedback in conservation planning.- Sonide Simon

Adaptive Strategies for Caribbean Community-based Planning – Carianne Johnson

Creating Complete Communities: Drawing the connection between ideas and actions in Belize – Shirley L. Humes


3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sub-theme: Cross-cutting theme

Session 12a

Presentation on Working Group on Habitat III


Panelists: Asad Mohammed (CNULM)

7:00 pm -9:00 p.m. CLOSING CEREMONY




Working towards an urban policy for financing Caribbean development

An urban policy, according to UN-Habitat, “provides an overarching coordinating framework to deal with the most pressing issues related to rapid urban development, including slum prevention and regularization, access to land, basic services and infrastructure, urban legislation, delegation of authority to sub-national and local governments, financial flows, urban planning regulations, urban mobility and urban energy requirements as well as job creation.” The traditional urban planning policy, while similar in its notion, concerns itself more with design and management of the physical environment, and is less concerned with being responsible as a driver of economic development


The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is in the process of developing an urban policy to support responsible urbanization strategies in the Caribbean organization. It convened a Regional Urban Policy Stakeholder meeting on 7th -8th March 2017 at CDB’s Conference Centre, Barbados with the assistance of the Caribbean Network for Urban and Land Management, represented by Dr. Asad Mohammed and Dr. Perry Polar, and Keios Development Consultants.


Seventeen of the Bank’s nineteen Borrowing Member Countries had representatives at the meeting. These were Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Island, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos. Several international, regional and local organizations and individuals reflecting numerous sectors were also in attendance. These included the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), The University of the West Indies (UWI), Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTI), Barbados Town Planning Society (BTCS), and Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).


The following were some key takeaways from the stakeholder meeting:


Recent changes in the international development agenda has emphasized the importance of the urban sector as signified in both the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2016 New Urban Agenda at Habitat III.  SDG 11- the urban SDG, provides a clear linkage between the international development and urban agendas not evident with the preceding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Critical to implementing the New Urban Agenda will be the localization of the SDG’s in the urban context.


In Latin America and in the Caribbean the urban sector is of growing importance with its 80% urbanization rate, the highest rate of any region in the world. There are salient differences in the urban context between the predominantly small and island countries of the Caribbean compared to the larger Latin American region, which is illustrated in the Caribbean Urban Agenda, being championed by the Caribbean Network for Urban and Land Management and the Caribbean planning fraternity. The issues to be addressed in the Caribbean region include a general lack of urban policy, small size, inequitable income distribution and dominant levels of informal settlements, limited human resources and institutional fragility and the continuous susceptibility to natural disasters.


There have been attempts at urban sector discussions in the Caribbean since the mid 1980’s –mid 1990s with the Caribbean Conference for Town and Country Planning and a revival with the Caribbean Urban Forum annually since 2011. This workshop organized by the CDB to support the development of their Urban Policy Framework helps to deepen that ongoing dialogue.


Governance issues are multiple and varied with the first being a lack of clarity of which ministry is responsible for Urban Policy. This applies to most countries in the region. While planning is a key element, the varied elements of urban policy often encompass many ministries which often have weak coordinating and integrating mechanisms. There also appears to be a separation between those planning for urban area and those implementing urban interventions. Guyana is an exception with a Ministry of Communities including housing, planning and municipal governance.


In the countries where municipal government exists in the region, many elements of urban policy and action exist together at that level. Urban policy and programmes could possibly benefit from the trends towards devolution and decentralization such as what was taking place in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Guyana. Particularly promising were measures to improve financial autonomy of local government and the direct election of Mayors in Jamaica and Belize.


However, many countries in the region have felt that small size militates against effective local government and have no second level of government. In such situations, development corporations, such as the St John Development Corporation of Antigua, can provide elements of integrated urban planning and implementation. Where neither formal local government nor development companies exist, interagency coordinating mechanism can support integrated urban policy. Good regional examples of such practice, which also includes civil society participation, can be found in Gros Islet, Soufriere and Vieux Fort in St Lucia. However, even where formal local government exists there appears to be critical need for integrating sectoral planning and implementation across silos within an urban development framework.


Informality and settlement planning is seen as an important intersection between planning and implementation. The Trinidad and Tobago experience was seen as a regional good practice with a statutory base, a dedicated agency and experimentation with appropriate regimes of infrastructure and site development standards. However, present approaches to informal/ illegal settlement regularization in the urban periphery which has perpetuated single-family solutions, are no longer tenable in the context of limited land space and energy inefficiency. This strongly suggests full urban interventions need to be addressed.


Given the widespread nature of informality combined with poverty in the urban area makes enforcement challenging and regulatory agencies are practically bystanders. Meaningful interventions are more appropriately focused on improving access to infrastructure and services, and economic activity.


Supplying basic Urban Services and infrastructure seems to be pivotal activities when implementing urban policy in the Caribbean. The rate of urbanization seems to be constantly ahead of the ability of the State to provide the infrastructure and service backbone to urban growth. Given the high susceptibility to natural disasters in our urban areas, these would be critical elements of improving the resilience of urban populations. Haiti provides some useful illustrations. While this may be the extreme case in the region, the issues were symptomatic of the region. The Cayman Islands would be at the other extreme.


Water supply, sanitation, solid waste management, public transportation and even accessibility are serious challenges in almost all the Borrowing Member Countries of the CDB. However in planning such interventions the role of municipal government, cost recovery mechanisms and the proper targeting of subsidies remain important issues.


Environment and Climate Change are real underlying issues of urban policy and programmes that are not always tangible to affected communities and politicians. The issues around Disasters Risk Management may provide a better focus for planning and policy. The discourse between low density development and the “cultural preference” to single family detached housing in both private and social housing is critical and recurring.  Some countries are finally focusing on limiting the urban footprint, and addressing vacant lots and buildings. The issues of inland flooding and coastal inundation remain critical in a region where approximately 65% of the population lives on the coastal zone. Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and resilience are thus important crosscutting issues.


Social Issues remain mostly a matter of rhetoric rather than policy form in the urban sector. Recognition and stating of these issues are important steps but more needs to be done to deal with mainstreaming the interconnected social issues in urban policy. There is an assumption that gender is not a major problem because we have “strong women”, however, there remains severe inequalities between women and men. Further, other gender issues have social impacts, as in the case of Jamaica, the ostracising of homosexuals have led to the development of informal/illegal settlements in “gullies”. Issues such as vending, livelihoods, harassment, gender, poor infrastructure, crime, public space policy and housing need to be addressed in the context of the “right to the city” as espoused in the New Urban Agenda. The urban context must be recognized not only as the location of these many social issues but as the place where the economic dynamic allows us to find solutions.


Monitoring and reporting frameworks are key to the successful development, prioritization and implementation of any urban policy agenda in the Caribbean but relevant data for those exercises are limited and often does not extend beyond the project life. The deliverables of the project tend to be monitored but not whether the project has achieved its original objectives.  It is thus difficult to know if the impacts are being sustained after the project is completed. There are also critical definitional issues to be sorted out in the urban sector of the Caribbean such as the meaning of urban and rural.


There has been ongoing discussions at the Caribbean Urban Forum on the establishment of a smaller set of focused Caribbean Urban Indicators but no specific agreements. Everyone wants a just a few indicators, but everyone wants their indicator included. There are good reasons that, while data and indicators are collected by countries, they should be interpreted within a comparative Caribbean Framework that is related to international frameworks. Urban indicator frameworks should also be linked to national indicator frameworks as was being done in some countries with the MDGs, and localising the SDGs provide a good opportunity to do that. Finally, monitoring and reporting frameworks are not only for public agencies and quantitative data. Urban policy can also be monitored by quality of life indicators, civil society actions such as the Bogota Como Vamos programme in Columbia and participatory budgeting and management systems at municipalities.


Cross-cutting urban issues were raised in most session. Three are worth mentioning. The first is that third party rights, the ability to challenge decision making of the State, are being introduced through public engagement and participatory planning and governance in the urban sector. However, statutory requirements for such engagement, is very limited. This may be related to the second issue of low civil society engagement in the urban sector and weak civil society generally. The final issue is the need to connect urban policy and planning with implementation. Some useful areas where this can happen in the urban sector of the Caribbean include regularization of the informal urban areas, revitalization and redevelopment of blighted areas and urban design improvements in pedestrian access and walkability, open space and heritage tourism.