The Caribbean Research Cluster for Population and Sustainable Development is one of several clusters associated with the Fifty-Fifty Research Initiative that was established in SALISES in 2012.  Its membership is drawn principally from among academics, researchers, alumni of SALISES and a cross-section of allied professionals engaged in formal research and academic programmes addressing problems akin to links between population and sustainable development in Caribbean societies.  This conference will be the first of a series of Country Conferences to be organized by the Cluster and seeks to explore a wide array of population issues that have affected development prospects specifically in Trinidad and Tobago.  Subsequent conferences will embrace a similar model focusing on other Caribbean jurisdictions, specifically independent and non-independent states.


Rationale for the Conference

With the onset of 2015 and the need to report on achievements associated with the MDGs, data pertaining to demographic components are limited in supply from formal sources in Trinidad and Tobago and in some cases, unreliable or unavailable.  Such limitations negatively impact the ability of key stakeholders to gain knowledge about the characteristic features of the population of Trinidad and Tobago, and in particular, the factors that contribute to valid assessments of temporal changes in population composition and population size.


As a small state in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago faces demand and supply challenges in the production and dissemination of data for development planning.  Not surprisingly, the national statistical system is overwhelmed by the expectations of policy-makers, civil society (including academia) and the public for current and accessible statistical data including those that reflect demographic phenomena.  The Central Statistical Office (CSO) has been the main producer of demographic and population-related data since its establishment in the 1950s but has lost tremendous ground in this endeavour.  Specifically, national population data have increasingly been compromised due to a critical dearth of expertise since the early 1990s and a poorly managed national vital statistics system that has virtually collapsed, retarding the production of vital statistics and bringing such a process to a virtual standstill.


Given that the CSO has operated without a qualified demographer since the 1990s, public confidence in the quality of population-related statistics has waned.  Moreover, data emanating from the 2000 and 2011 Population and Housing Censuses have never been evaluated raising further concerns about data quality from the lenses of professional demographers.  In order for Trinidad and Tobago to gain prominence as a regional and hemispheric model-nation in the pursuit of population and development agendas, the government ought to reflect upon the following question, “Can any Government afford not to invest in the institutionalization of a population and development agenda supported by a progressive national statistical system?” 


In anticipation of the round of activities associated with the Post-MDGs, the imminent adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and PARIS21’s Road Map for a Country-Led Data Revolution, this conference soberly confronts a wide cross-section of themes and issues deemed to be critical in overcoming persistent threats to knowledge that is central to the advancement of more equitable development.   The conference promotes the notion that sustainable development will not be economically viable, socio-culturally sensitive, environmentally responsible and people-focused if it were to be insensitive to human population structures and dynamics.


The Conference Organizing Committee is therefore inviting interested persons to submit abstracts of papers that address research problems related to the themes listed below.  Academicians, research scholars, policy analysts, public sector workers, other allied researchers from other civil society organizations and especially graduate students conducting relevant research focusing on issues consistent with the listed themes are encouraged to submit abstracts.  Please submit abstracts in accordance with the guidelines provided.