Future of Caribbean on table at Wilton Park conference

Several Caribbean experts are meeting at the end of February to discuss the necessary steps that would allow the region to survive and prosper in the light of climate change and issues such as food and energy security.

According to a press release the 900th Wilton Park Conference aims to examine whether the region can prosper and compete successfully in the era of globalisation and in the face of climate change, in the coming decades.

Since 1946 Wilton Park has run over 1,000 events dealing with the most sensitive and pressing issues affecting the world. As an independent agency of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office it brings together decision-makers and opinion-formers from around the world to address the most pressing global issues.

The meeting aims to address issues such as how individual countries and the region intend to tackle energy and food security; what can be done to mitigate the economic impact of climate change and how the region can co-operate more closely to attract investment and ensure prosperity, among others.

The conference, hosted under the theme ‘Caribbean States in 2020: Sinking, Surviving or Prospering’ starts on February 28 and ends on March 1. Barbados Opposition leader Mia Mottley is expected to introduce the topic ‘A Caribbean Perspective’ followed by Trinidad’s Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Conrad Enill. Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize, Kenrick Leslie is expected to present ‘The Caribbean Context’ on the subject ‘Assessing the Global Challenges and Solutions for the Caribbean’. Other presenters are also expected.

The conference will also address issues including the Caribbean tourist sector, under the heading ‘Looking for Growth’ and Food Security: creating a new agricultural model; Meeting the energy needs of the future: Which way to go? The release said too that plenary sessions will be hosted followed by discussions in smaller groups on topics such as ‘Being part of the solution to climate change: The role of the Caribbean in providing innovative solutions’, by Chairman of the Iwokrama Board, Edward Glover; ‘New Investment approaches to the Caribbean’ by Head, Centro de Exportation in Inversion (CEI), Santo Domingo, Eddy Martinez; ‘Recovering more quickly from disasters’ by National Disaster Co-ordinator, National Disaster Management Agency, Gre-nada, Sylvan McIntyre and ‘Developing the skills needed for a globalised economy’ by Caribbean Policy Develop-ment Centre in Barbados, Shantal Munro-Knight.

The release said the conference is being supported by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Virgin Atlantic and in co-operation with The Caribbean Council, London. It said the conference is open to those with expertise or who share an interest in the theme as the planners aim to have a broad spread of nationalities and institutions represented.

Contribution costs 1,100 pounds and covers accommodation, meals, attendance at all sessions and transportation from and to Gatwick airport. Interested persons are asked to email Senior Programme Director Robin Hart at robin.hart@wiltonpark.org.uk for more information.

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