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CARICOM seeks closer cooperation with Sweden in education and ICT

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown, Guyana) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is eager to deepen its cooperation with the Kingdom of Sweden in education and ICT.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett underscored this interest while accrediting a new envoy from the Nordic country, His Excellency Andres Bengtcén.

Ambassador Bengtcén presented his letters of credence to Dr. Barnett at the Community’s headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana on 19 March.

The Secretary-General referenced the 2016 CARICOM-Nordic Memorandum of Understanding which prioritised information and communication technology (ICT), and education as the main areas for CARICOM-Sweden cooperation. In this context, she said CARICOM is “eager to delve deeper into these possibilities” given the Kingdom’s position as a world leader in innovation, and its strong focus on technology and sustainability.

She also noted that during a 2019 ministerial meeting with their Swedish counterpart, CARICOM Foreign Ministers had expressed an interest in expanding the Community’s cooperation with Sweden in renewable energy, water management, ocean security and citizen security.

Acknowledging Sweden as one of the strongest contributors to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Dr. Barnett lauded its pledge of US$800M, to assist developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change.

“Access to climate financing is a priority for the Region, as CARICOM Member States lack the necessary funding for adaptation and transition to renewable energy resources. We call, therefore, on Sweden as an important international partner to amplify the Community’s concerns and interests in international fora, especially in those where we are not represented,” Secretary-General Barnett stated.

She added,

“This includes advocating for fair contributions from the developed world to address the impact of climate change and restructuring of the international financial architecture. We urge Sweden’s support for the Bridgetown Initiative and advocacy, on behalf of Small Island Development States (SIDS), for the determinant of graduation to be more than per capita income. CARICOM’s position is that it should be expanded to a multidimensional measure that will consider factors such as, vulnerability to natural disasters and external shocks.”

Ambassador Bengtcén told the Secretary-General that Sweden is keenly aware of the destructive impact of climate change across the Caribbean and understands the need for the Region to build resilience to reduce the devastation of natural disasters. For this reason, he said Sweden has been a major contributor to the GCF and the Global Environment Facility.

The new envoy informed that the Swedish private sector, research institutions and academia are devoting considerable financial and intellectual resources to develop smart solutions to radically reduce CO2 emissions. This is with the aim of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.

He told Dr. Barnett that his country wants to share these innovative technologies with international partners including the Caribbean, as it has already begun to see carbon emissions fall.

“…we find ourselves at the outset of a non-fossil industrial revolution,” the Swedish Ambassador stated.

Secretary-General Barnett utilised the engagement with the new envoy of Sweden to continue CARICOM’s advocacy for international support to Haiti.

“We recognise the importance of collaborating with international partners to ensure a unified approach in supporting Haiti. This includes mobilising resources required to operationalize the Multinational Security Support (MSS) Mission and the urgent delivery of critical security and humanitarian assistance,” the CARICOM SG told the Swedish ambassador.

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