The Pesticides Control Board of Belize is pleased to report that the hosting of the 21st Meeting of the Coordinating Group of Pesticides Control Boards of the Caribbean (CGPC) held in Belize from 6 – 10 June 2016, was a resounding success. The meeting was held at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in San Ignacio, Cayo under the theme: “A changing climate! A changing world! Responsible pest and pesticide management – our responsibility.” Mr. Carlos Fuller of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre based in Belize was the keynote speaker during the meeting’s first technical session.
The CGPC is comprised of representatives from the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Boards or Authorities of the countries of the Caribbean, and associate members representing other stakeholders. The group meets annually in one of the member countries, with the host country assuming the Chair for a one-year tenure.
Funding for the 21st meeting of the CGPC was provided by i) the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)-funded project titled “Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides including POPs, Promotion of Alternatives and Strengthening Pesticides Management in the Caribbean”, and Phase II of an EU-funded project titled “Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries – Clean-up of obsolete pesticides, pesticides management and sustainable pest management”, and by ii) the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)-implemented 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) project.
The 21st meeting of the CGPC saw the participation of delegates from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. Meeting facilitators included Ms. Carol Thomas of IICA, Barbados who serves as the CGPC Technical Secretary, Dr. Vyjayanthi Lopez and Mr. Guy Mathurin of the FAO sub-regional office for the Caribbean in Barbados, and Dr. Richard Thompson and Ms. Oxana Perminova of the Plant Production and Protection Division of the FAO in Rome.
Also in attendance was Ms. Therese Yarde of the CARICOM Secretariat. Other participants included representatives from regional organizations such as the Basel Convention Regional Center, Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency, Caribbean Farmers’ Network and the University of the West Indies, as well as associate members from the private sector. A joint session for exchange of work experiences was held with the participation of the Project Execution Group of the Belize Chemicals and Waste Management Project which is being implemented by the Department of the Environment. Members of the Pesticides Control Board of Belize were among other invited guests at the various meeting sessions.
Major meeting accomplishments include the development of a work plan for all five components of the GEF-funded project to address the disposal of obsolete pesticides including POPs, promotion of alternatives and strengthening of pesticides management in the Caribbean. This included discussions pertaining to the regional harmonization of the pesticide registration process. Among the primary agreements made during technical sessions of the 21st meeting of the CGPC, the countries agreed to develop a regional collaborative exercise for the review of highly hazardous pesticides, and to explore research opportunities related to pesticides management and climate change. Stemming from previous meetings of the CGPC, the development of a regional Pest Control Operators manual was being finalized by IICA with support from the EDF’s SPS project.
During its regular business session, the CGPC agreed to conduct activities related to its annual observation of Pesticides Awareness Week under the theme “Manage Pesticides Responsibly: Adapt to Climate Change”. The next meeting of the CGPC is scheduled to be held in Barbados in 2017.
In accepting the Chair of the CGPC at the Opening Ceremony, Ms. Miriam Ochaeta-Serrut, Registrar of Pesticides of the Pesticides Control Board, pledged to take on the challenge of improving the level of networking exchange among member countries, in order to fulfill agreements made during the course of the meeting.