CARICOM Secretary-General holds discussions with Ocean Policy Research Institute President on margins of COP28

CARICOM Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett, on Thursday met with the President of the Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (OPRI-SPF) based in Tokyo, Japan, Mr. Hide Sakaguchi, on the margins of COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The OPRI has been undertaking interdisciplinary research and partnership activities towards achieving sustainable ocean and sustainable blue economies encompassing a wide range of issues including sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, marine and coastal environment conservation, blue economies, ocean-based renewable energy, elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing, marine pollution elimination including marine plastics, maritime security, blue financing, science and technology, regional cooperation and international partnership, capacity development, human resource and leadership development.

Secretary-General Barnett underscored the importance of oceans to the economies and livelihoods of the Caribbean Community. She stressed that for the Region, a significant amount of scientific work has been undertaken on its ocean space and the Region strives for the delicate balance between protection and building economic resilience. She indicated that the Institute’s focus on capacity development, research, human resource development and knowledge exchange would be key areas for further discussion between the Secretariat and OPRI.

The Secretary-General and the OPRI President commended efforts by CARICOM nationals to further develop their capacity to manage and protect our marine resources by taking up opportunities to study at the World Maritime University in Malmo Sweden through a programme funded by the Sasakawa Institute, the parent organisation of the OPRI. It was proposed that there could be a role for the alumni of this programme in the design of the OPRI intervention in CARICOM.

Both parties exchanged views on issues impacting ocean governance in the Region including the impacts of climate change, enhancing sustainable tourism, maritime transportation and disaster response. Discussions also focused on opportunities to enhance cooperation with regional institutions such as the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and The University of the West Indies (The UWI). 

The meeting ended with commitment to finalise, in the short term, a programme of interventions for the Region. There was also commitment to engage again in the lead-up to and at the Fourth Small Island Developing States Conference scheduled for Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024.


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