Over the period 20 – 22 January 2020, a series of meetings was held in Trinidad and Tobago to examine the issue of the sustainability of biosafety in the CARICOM region.
At the first meeting, which held from 20 – 21 January 2020, representatives from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) and UN Environment (UNE) met to develop an action plan to chart the way forward for biosafety management at a regional level. Deliberations were based on the recommendations outlined in the report of the terminal evaluation of the UNEP-GEF Regional Project for Implementing National Biosafety Frameworks in the Caribbean Sub-Region, conducted in January 2019.
In light of the initiative to develop a strategic outlook for biosafety in the Caribbean Region to enhance the sustainability of the outputs achieved under the implementation project, a meeting of regional biosafety stakeholders was convened on 22 January 2020. Participants came from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Also present, in addition to UWI, UNEP and CAHFSA, were representatives from regional and international organisations such as CARICOM, CARPHA, OECS, CARDI and IICA. Presentations examined the outlook from the national, regional and international perspectives, and a workshop session was conducted in which participants were tasked with arriving at common positions on how existing gaps to biosafety management can be addressed, as well as outline a regional implementation framework for biosafety.
It is hoped that the discussions held over the 3-day period will serve as a means of keeping biosafety relevant, and that the necessary steps will be taken at both nationally and regionally to ensure full implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in the Caribbean region.