The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Programme entitled “Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island States (ISLANDS)” will support entry of thirty-three (33) SIDS in the Caribbean, Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean into a safe chemical development pathway. The global programme seeks to address the sound management of chemicals and waste through:
- Strengthening the capacity of sub-national, national and regional institutions;
- Strengthening the enabling policy and regulatory framework in these countries; and
- Unlocking resources for implementing measures.
The GEF ISLANDS Programme is one of the largest investments made by the GEF Waste and Chemicals Focal Area and consists of seven (7) Child Projects, three (3) of which will be executed in the Caribbean. The Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the Caribbean (BCRC-Caribbean) is currently the executing agency for three of the ISLANDS Child projects: GEF ISLANDS 10258, GEF ISLANDS 10279 and GEF ISLANDS 10472, the last of which is being executed in three (3) Caribbean countries, namely The Bahamas, Cuba and Dominica. The project is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Further to the approval of the proposed activities for the project with GEF ID 10472 by the CEO of the GEF in November 2021, the BCRC-Caribbean, alongside the UNEP, kicked off the execution of the next phase of the project by hosting a virtual Project Inception Meeting. The beneficiary countries and other project stakeholders were invited to discuss detailed breakdown of the project activities in accordance with the four components of the Programme, and to endorse the work plan and budget for the project, as well as potential synergies that exist between the other Caribbean child projects. The meeting was facilitated via the Zoom platform on Friday March 11, 2022, at 11:00am (GMT-4). The meeting was hosted in English and simultaneous interpretation was available for the Spanish-speaking audience.
The BCRC-Caribbean commends The Bahamas on the finalization of its NWG for the project. It was also noted that once final endorsements are received, the project can proceed to the next activity, which is the development and review of Terms of Reference for various consultancies.
Ms. Batchasingh expressed gratitude to the BCRC-Caribbean staff, GEF, UNEP, and the countries for their hard work thus far. Mr. Anil Sookdeo corroborated this and highlighted that he wants to see collaboration for all to prosper, acknowledging that inclusivity gives us the type of impacts that we need and will give SIDS a strong voice in the global sphere of chemicals and waste management, allowing us to have more control over what we do and do not want in our islands. He highlighted that the GEF Secretariat will be paying close attention to the implementation and looks forward to having an in-person meeting when possible. He expressed that he looks forward to participation in the GEF 8 Cycle and hopes that the result of this replenishment will be a substantially larger chemicals and waste portfolio to ensure that country priorities are met.