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Caribbean Member States Endorse First-Ever Regional Strategic Framework for Cooperation with IAEA

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National Liaison Officers and National Liaison Assistants from eight IAEA Member States joined the meeting, including Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

Fifteen representatives of countries which are Member States of both the IAEA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), together with delegates from CARICOM regional organizations, gathered at the Agency’s Vienna headquarters from 18 to 20 November to review and subsequently endorse the Regional Strategic Framework (RSF). This document compiles and identifies the shared development challenges affecting countries in the Caribbean, and clarifies how and where nuclear science and technology can contribute to their resolution.

The Caribbean is home to close to 45 million people who—despite linguistic and cultural differences—are united by common challenges and opportunities. Reflecting the desire to work more closely together and to leverage the available resources and capacities in the region, stakeholders and decision-makers from Member States in the Caribbean met throughout 2018 and 2019 to consider how best to tackle development issues cooperatively, and how to collectively implement nuclear-derived solutions with IAEA assistance, supported by a Regional Strategic Framework that would align Agency support with existing development priorities. The year-long development process included several rounds of regional stakeholder reviews and IAEA expert assessments, which supported the crafting of a coherent and consensus-based list of priorities for the Caribbean.

The RSF identifies priorities, opportunities and obstacles associated with nuclear-supported development in the Caribbean, particularly in the fields of agriculture, food safety and security, human health, energy planning, radiation technologies and radiation safety. The document draws attention to not only the benefits of nuclear techniques and technologies, but also to the most commonly-encountered challenges which may prevent or delay the implementation of those technologies. Moreover, the RSF addresses cross-cutting issues on which the success of nuclear applications may depend, notably: communication and outreach, partnership-building and gender mainstreaming, as well as guidance for the subsequent monitoring and evaluation of technical cooperation activities.

“The Regional Strategic Framework represents a significant step in developing future programming in the Caribbean region. As such, it will serve as a framework within which future TC projects can be developed, implemented and monitored, thereby promoting stronger cooperation amongst regional stakeholders,” said Luis Longoria, Director, IAEA Technical Cooperation Division of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Regional Strategic Framework will be used to identify and develop more needs- and evidence-based regional projects during the 2022-2023 technical cooperation cycle (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

The Regional Strategic Framework represents a significant step forward in the application of nuclear sciences and technology in the region. As the project design phase for the 2022–2023 IAEA technical cooperation cycle quickly approaches, the RSF will be used immediately to identify and develop more needs- and evidence-based regional projects that can address the priorities identified and agreed by all IAEA-CARICOM Member States.

Remarks were delivered by high-level representatives of the intergovernmental Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Sciences and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL) , notably Ambassador Lourdes Victoria-Kruse, Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic, and Marieta García Jordán, Minister Counselor and Alternate Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN Office in Vienna, who highlighted the close, cooperative ties between the IAEA-CARICOM Member States and ARCAL and reiterated the commitment of ARCAL States Parties to enhancing their ties with peers in the Caribbean to promote atoms for peace and development

“Cuba, as Chair of ARCAL, is committed to continue working to strengthen existing cooperation ties, create new alliances and work towards the development of peaceful nuclear applications in the region,” said Marieta García Jordán. “This Agreement has proved to be a propitious framework for adopting a more strategic approach to the use of nuclear technology to help addressing common problems in this region of around 580 million people.”

National Liaison Officers and National Liaison Assistants from eight IAEA Member States joined the meeting, including Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. The meeting also benefited from the participation of representatives from Caribbean Agriculture Health and Food Safety Agency, Caribbean Agricultural Development Institute, Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

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