Caribbean Member States and industry have set the course for the future to protect the Caribbean marine environment during the latest meeting of the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre – Caribe (RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe).
The 10th RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe Steering Committee Meeting (which is held every two years) was held in Curaçao Netherlands (18-19 May).
Through the Centre, IMO supports capacity-building activities, including practical training in oil spill preparedness and response; workshops on implementing IMO's Ballast Water Management Convention to prevent the introduction of invasive aquatic species; and regional gatherings of maritime administrators to share best practices and receive updates on regulatory matters.
Welcoming participants to the meeting, IMO's Patricia Charlebois stressed the importance of IMO's partnership with the Centre to support all efforts to support the Wider Caribbean region in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly on ocean matters. Key areas of environmental concern, notably on ocean governance and marine plastic litter, provide an opportunity to further reinforce IMO's long-standing cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through the Regional Seas Programmes, and develop new opportunities for collaboration.
The Steering Committee agreed a work programme of priorities for the coming biennium. Participants were updated on the newly- launched website for RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe (https://new.racrempeitc.org/) which was developed with funding provided through IMO's Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP). IMO provided updates on its major projects, including the GloLitter Partnerships project to tackle marine plastic litter and the Norway-funded Carib-SMART programme which aims to support Caribbean SIDS maritime sector to build-back better after the pandemic.
To help ensure sustainability of the Centre's operations, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago announced its intention to provide a secondee, for a two-year period, to RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe. During the meeting, the need for ongoing attention and long-term commitment was highlighted, to ensure the sustainability and excellent work carried out by the Centre.
The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Centre – Caribe (RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe) is one of four Regional Activity Centres of the Caribbean Environment Program (UNEP-CAR/RCU). Established in 1995, RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe is hosted by the Government of Curaçao and staffed with subject matter experts voluntarily seconded by states signatory to the Cartagena Convention of 1983.
Activities are largely funded by IMO, UNEP and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).