As the GEF 5558 Project “Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Management Mechanism for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Caribbean”, continues in its third (3rd) year of work, the BCRC-Caribbean hosted a 4-day series of Regional Meetings during May 28 – 31, 2018 in St. John’s Antigua and Barbuda. Hosted in conjunction with the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Environment, the Centre had the opportunity to present four different aspects of the project to the participating countries. The eight (8) participating countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The week of proceedings began with the Train-the-Trainer Workshop which focused on the Theme: Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) Inventory and Disposal of POPs. This workshop held on May 28, 2018, supported the Communications Consultancy under Output 1.2 – Sound chemicals management mainstreamed into national policies and plans, and was the first of five regional “train-the-trainer” workshops. As part of Output 1.2, training needs assessments were conducted in the project countries, which informed the development of regional training plans on five (5) core thematic areas. Under this activity, a Training Manual is being developed for each thematic area, which will to support the in-country roll-out of national training by the trainers from relevant agencies that are to be trained as part of the project. Country specific training plans will be developed for each thematic area, for use by the trained representatives. The workshop was facilitated by the contracted consultant team, the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (ALJGSB).

On the second day, May 29, 2018, the Third (3rd) Annual Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting was convened. Under Activity 5.1.2 of the GEF approved project document, an annual PSC meeting is to be held to review the project’s implementation, status and/or any modifications to the project’s scope, budget and timeline. The meeting provided for planning the way forward with presentations on the work programme for Years III-IV, expected project country visits, and institutional arrangements to support the project execution and general reporting requirements. The members of the PSC (or their designate) – Chairpersons of the Project Working Committees (PWC) and the appointed National Project Coordinators (NPC) – from the eight (8) participating countries were present, along with representatives of UNIDO, Dr. Alfredo Cueva and Dr. Maren Mellendorf, and the BCRC-Caribbean team.

The third workshop which took place on May 30, 2018 was the NIP Validation Workshop in support of Output 1.1- Update of National Implementation Plans (NIPs) for the 8 participating countries. Following the validation and endorsement of the POPs Inventories during the Regional Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Inventories Validation Workshop which took place on 16th and 17th November 2017 in Saint Kitts and Nevis, the contracted consultants, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), has since conducted stakeholder consultations in each participating country to support the development of actions plans and the update of the NIPs. This workshop, jointly facilitated by CARPHA, sought to validate and endorse the draft Final NIPs, which had been reviewed by the Project Working Committees (PWCs), as well as outline the strategies for the endorsement of the NIPs at the national levels. The draft final NIPs, including action plans that were identified based on extensive country consultations, were discussed with a view to focus on the way forward for implementation of the action plans after NIP endorsement. International Consultant, Dr. Roland Weber and UNIDO representative, Dr. Alfredo Cueva were able to provide expert guidance on practical means to implement the action plans and identify avenues for countries to seek future funding.

The last day of the meeting series wrapped up with the 1st Regional Legal Stakeholders Workshop: Towards a Model Legal Framework for Chemicals Management, which supports the Legal Consultancy under Output 1.2 – Sound chemicals management mainstreamed into national policies and plans. This workshop was facilitated by Ms. Christine Toppin-Allahar and her legal consultant team who were contracted for the development of a comprehensive chemical regulatory framework for each participating country. In this context this workshop sought to present the overall findings and recommendations for a Draft Regional Chemicals Regulatory Framework for the 8 participating countries.