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by: John Emmanuel & Wesley Gibbings

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - Caribbean and Pacific states have agreed to co-operate during preparations for next year’s Barbados +10 Conference, which will examine progress on the plan of action adopted at the meeting of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1994.

Agreement on a joint strategy has been sanctioned in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Saint Lucia-based Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI) and the South Pacific Applied Geo-science Commission (SOPAC).

Speaking at the special session on Water and Small Islands of the Third-World Water Forum being held in Kyoto, Japan, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Honourable Felix Finisterre said “all the available evidence confirms that the intra-regional and inter-regional approach will yield faster and more sustainable results.”

Minister Finisterre, who later witnessed the signing of the CEHI/SOPAC MOU added it was fortunate for the region that “a solid base exists both in the Caribbean and in the Pacific that can swiftly be built upon.”

The collaboration between CEHI and SOPAC began more than a year ago through the International Dialogue on Water and Climate. The agreement spans the areas of research, public awareness, education and training and policy and institutional development. CEHI’s Executive Director, Vincent Sweeney, bemoaned the fact that the Caribbean has been ignored on the global agenda for too long.

The Water Summit comes to an end on March 23rd, 2003.

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