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Caribbean Disaster Management gets Italian Support

KINGSTON – The Government of Italy and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have signed a scientific cooperation agreement aimed at enhancing the Region’s early response to natural disasters.

The Agreement on Cooperation in Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring, Natural Disaster and Early Warning was signed by Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite and Italy’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Siampaolo Bettamio, on Tuesday 4 April at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana. This Agreement followed upon the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Community and Italy last July, for cooperation in several areas. These included climate change and scientific and technical research.

Delivering remarks at the signing ceremony, Ambassador Applewhaite said the agreement would enable the conduct of a feasibility study for the establishment of a modern hydro-meteorological monitoring system, also known as an early-warning system, in the Caribbean.

Ambassador Applewhaite underscored the importance and timeliness of the agreement given its signing just nine weeks short of the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season.

In brief remarks, the Vice Minister of Italy said the signing agreement would strengthen existing relations between the Government of Italy and CARICOM. He also pledged Italy’s ongoing commitment to assisting the Region in improving its disaster monitoring systems. He also noted that his country was assisting the Community in a number of areas including food security.

In July 2005, the CARICOM Secretary-General H. E. Edwin Carrington paid an official visit to Italy where he signed the MOU on behalf of the Community, to strengthen political, scientific and technical cooperation between CARICOM Member States and Italy.

At present, the Region is benefiting from technical support being provided by Italy in a number of areas.

Among these are the development and implementation of CARICOM’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connectivity Agenda, the operation of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCC) and a pilot project on renewable energy.

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