The Caribbean is gaining visibility in the Policy Dialogue
based in an interview with Cardinal Warde (Interim Director) and Lois Oliver, Caribbean Science Foundation
The Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF) exists for only 4 years and is therefore a pretty new partner in EC projects. Since the start of ALCUE NET the CSF, as a project partner, had a very steep learning curve according to Cardinal Warde, Interim Executive Director of CSF, and Lois Oliver, Assistant Director at CSF. The CSF did a lot of listening and a lot of learning to get familiar with “EU speak” and with EC rules and project procedures. Now, the CSF feels pretty much up to speed and is benefitting from the participation in ALCUE NET by getting more visibility and the chance to put concerns, which are peculiar to the Caribbean, on the table.
The CSF is certainly a peculiar partner in ALCUE NET as the Foundation doesn’t represent a single country, but a range of small individual countries which don’t collaborate very well at this moment and which have some specific problems that Latin America doesn’t have. So, CSF expects from the participation in ALCUE NET, among other things, that the EU leadership in Brussels can be sensitized about the particularities and special needs of the Caribbean.
Cardinal Warde sees ALCUE NET as a great project for the CSF and for the region, not only because it gives the Caribbean researchers visibility, but also because it allows bringing together actors within the Caribbean who didn’t know each other or who didn’t talk to each other before.
Lois Oliver affirms this by saying: “I think the mere fact that we are involved and we are able to select experts to attend the meetings shows our level of interest and commitment. I think it bodes well for future involvement and future progression for the Caribbean and that in my mind is a small victory.”
Future challenges for Caribbean researchers will be to connect better with other researchers around the globe, and especially in Europe. The CSF would like to play the role as a central clearing house for future EU cooperation, at least in some areas. In general, according to Cardinal Warde, it would be crucial for the achievement of a more active role of the Caribbean in e.g. H2020 that regional organizations rather than countries are given more prominence as project partners. ALCUE NET has offered different platforms already where Cardinal Warde could highlight this statement in front of different stakeholders and he hopes that these kinds of policy recommendations finally reach out to the right decision makers in Brussels.