Meeting in the boardroom at the Ramada Belize City Princess were (clockwise) Carmen Silva, Economic and Policy Analyst, and J. Nathan Bland, Political and Economic Section Chief, both of the US Embassy in Belize; Daniel Oerther and Anushree Banerjee, Foreign Service Officers of the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Food Security; Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director; Peter A. Murray, CRFM Programme Manager – Fisheries Management and Development; Jose Angel Villalobos, Senior Insurance Specialist, and Miguel Angel Jorge, Senior Fisheries Specialist, both of the World Bank; as well as Sherlene Audinett, CRFM Executive Secretary

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BELIZE CITY, Belize, Jan 11 2017 — The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) hosted a working group meeting at the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel from 9 – 10 January, to advance the implementation of a risk insurance facility for fishers in the region.

When Fisheries ministers from CRFM Member States met in Cayman in October 2016, they reviewed the progress made towards the activation of the Caribbean Ocean Assets Sustainability Facility (COAST).

The CRFM notes that, “The COAST insurance scheme will offer an opportunity for countries to buy insurance to help protect their fisheries sector, and hence their food security, from severe weather while promoting resilience to a changing climate and encouraging the conservation of marine environments.”

According to Julia Duncan, who serves in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Food Security, COAST will provide 180,000 fisherfolk and associated industries in the Caribbean access to insurance for losses from severe weather. Duncan said that Jamaica has already expressed interest in COAST, which is also supported in principle by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ministerial group, and the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organisations (CNFO), in addition to the CRFM.

The COAST initiative is being implemented within the context of the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP), which provides a useful framework for considering the requirements for country-led, climate-smart food security strategies in the fisheries sector.

The CRFM is the lead implantation agency for Caribbean states. The regional fisheries body is uniquely positioned to lead efforts to verify country-led plans and support the implementation of best practices for climate-smart food security in the fisheries sector. International organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and The Nature Conservancy are lending their technical support. All collaborating agencies were invited to attend the working group meeting.

Joining CRFM Secretariat staff members, US State Department personnel and officials of the US Embassy in Belize at the COAST meeting in Belize, were representatives of the World Bank, which has supported CCRIF SPC, a Cayman-based agency serving 17 Caribbean nations and Nicaragua, in the creation of the COAST insurance product.

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