22.05.2006 -

An action plan for Caribbean science

A conference organized by the 15-member Caribbean Common Market (Caricom) in Trinidad & Tobago from 9 to 13 May has drawn up an action plan to strengthen science in the sub-region and develop ties between Caribbean researchers and the wider scientific community. As SciDev.Net reports, the plan proposes boosting science teaching in schools, launching a regional science journal and creating sustainable ways to fund research – Caricom nations today devote less than 0.2% of GDP to research and development. Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell put the lack of scientific development down to the region’s inability ‘to agree on and to implement a policy strategy and action plan for science, technology and innovation’. A lack of coordination between the region's scientific institutions had ‘led to more than two decades of inertia, wasted resources and duplication’, he said, ‘that have left us in the Caribbean scrambling to try to get a focus’. ‘The message is clear’, said Harold Ramkissoon, Executive-Secretary of Cariscience, a UNESCO network of R&D and postgraduate programmes in the Caribbean. ‘Embrace science and technology or be left behind’. Harold Ramkissoon is the author of the chapter on the Caricom countries in the UNESCO Science Report 2005. He also profiled both the Caricom countries and Cuba in A World of Science in October 2005.

Read the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the conference.

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