12th Regional Planners Forum and the 81st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)

30/9/19: Belize City. The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with CARICOM Secretariat hosted the 12th Regional Planners Forum and the 81st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture on September 30th to October 4th 2019, at the Belize Best Biltmore Plaza, Belize City.

The Regional Planners Forum was being hosted under the theme “Capitalizing on the New Frontier in Global Agriculture” which seeks to take advantage of new opportunities emerging in agriculture globally. The Regional Planners Forum has been an integral part of the regional agriculture planning and development since its inception.  The main objective of the Planner’s Forum was to provide a neutral platform for stakeholders to advance the discussion and build cooperation on matters of importance to regional agriculture enhancement.  Therefore, providing an opportunity to agree on directions and contribute to the development of policies and programs that capitalized on opportunities while addressing existing, imminent and emerging challenges.

This year’s forum offered an opportunity for Member States (MS) and development partners in the Region, to take stock of their collective efforts to promote sustainable agricultural development and the challenges in meeting these goals over the last decade. The Planners Forum played a critical role in furthering the Regional dialogue on agriculture.  Moreover, it was the single most important opportunity to convene key agriculture development leaders in the region to explore emerging sustainable, market-led agricultural initiatives, that are of critical importance at the national and regional levels. The Forum provided opportunities to identify approaches to combat climate change, explore climate financing in agriculture, and disaster risk reduction and building sector resilience. The general direction is one that focuses on strengthening climate change adaptation in agriculture, promoting trade through food safety and standards and creating nutritionally relevant food systems in CARICOM. The sub-themes for the Forum are further disaggregated as follows:

  • CARICOM Regional Agricultural Policy in Action
  • Capitalizing on Wealth Creation in Agri-Business
  • Propelling ICT and Innovation in Agriculture
  • Emerging Opportunities in Agribusiness

The week of activities included the hosting of the other regional bodies liked:

  • The 81st Special Meeting of COTED(Agriculture)
  • The 7th CARICOM Sugar Stakeholder Meeting
  • CARDI Board of Governors Meeting
  • CAHFSA Board Meeting and
  • CRFM Ministerial Meeting

At the core of the forum, the intent was to build strong local, regional and hemispheric partnerships, incorporating innovative approaches and fostering inclusive development, to offer enhancement opportunities to the region.