CABI held a regional consultation meeting with its member countries from the Americas and the Caribbean in Barbados from 20-21 February, 2013. This venue was chosen to celebrate Barbados’ successful application to join CABI, effectively becoming the 48th member country.
Speaking at the Conference, CABI’s Executive Director for International Development, Dennis Rangi had this to say: ‘’CABI membership represents about 2/3 of the world’s population. An assessment of CABI’s work in the 100 years of our existence shows that we have made significant contribution in the fight against poverty. The impact of our work is global and it ranges from working directly with farmers to providing innovative solutions at the higher level in industry. CABI has been behind the identification of various significant disease-causing pests leading to the development of pest management programmes including resistant crop varieties across the world. We are at a turning point for CABI and its membership. In addition to providing technical skills, CABI will continue to play a much more catalytic role between its members, exploiting its intergovernmental status more effectively. Am also happy to see amongst us today a number of CABI alumni from the region.’’
CABI develops its programmes in close consultation with its member countries through the Review Conference (made up of all our member countries) – which is CABI’s supreme governing body – and Regional Consultations such as this one. The consultations also help us identify member country priorities in their quest to address the challenge of food security.
The theme for the consultation meeting was: “Improving Livelihoods through Knowledge Solutions and Partnerships’’. CABI aims to better align its work with regional needs and strategic plans, develop mutually agreed frameworks for activities and set a path to ensure these are appropriately funded, resourced and translated into vital and effective programmes, with commitment from both CABI and the national partners concerned. In this way, CABI works more synergistically with member countries and partners towards realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to poverty, hunger and the environment, thus contributing to CABI’s mission to improve livelihoods worldwide.
The meeting which brought together over 40 representatives from CABI’s current and potential member countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, international and regional partners, was graced by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Michael King, the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Lennox Chandler and the Head of Plant Protection Department, Michael James, among other Barbados officials. Representatives from member countries and potential member countries (Anguilla, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Montserrat, Chile, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) and representatives from partner organizations such as FAO, USDA, IICA,CROSQ worked together with CABI towards identifying common trends and issues, and developing regional plans and priorities.
“To implement our National Food Production Action Plan 2012-2015, we welcome the assistance and collaboration from organizations like CABI in areas such as Good Agricultural Practices, Zoosanitary and Phytosanitary matters. This regional consultation is very timely for us to discuss details of the Action Plan and explore ways in which CABI can assist. The Ministry of Food Production, in turn, will review CABI’s regional programmes to determine possible synergies”. Dr Mario Fortune, Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of Food Production, Trinidad and Tobago
The meeting identified the following priority areas for the region:
- Trade and Market Access
- Knowledge Management and Technology Transfer
- Plant Health and Integrated Crop Management
- Invasive Species Management
Climate Smart Agriculture
The Americas and the Caribbean region share an important aspect of CABI’s history which dates back to the Second World War when our then Institute of Biological Control (CIBC) was headquartered in Barbados and remained there for close to 30 years.
This region has also been quite instrumental in our exploration for biological control agents and facilitating the supply of these to other developing Member Countries. There have been some spectacular successes - for example - against sugar cane stem borer, coconut whitefly and the pink hibiscus mealybug to mention but a few.
The Regional Consultations have been conducted in readiness for the 18th Review Conference of Member Countries which will be held in Oxford, UK, in June, later this year and are an important demand-led process to identify and prioritize regional needs to address food security and sustainable development in agriculture.
See the programme and presentations