Foreign Diplomats, “Foreign Technical assistance available to Trinidad and Tobago, but systems need to be strengthened”
“There is foreign aid in the form of technical assistance and support, training and coordination available to Trinidad and Tobago.” This is according to the Ambassador of Mexico to Trinidad and Tobago, H.E. Jesús Alberto Lopez González and the Dutch Embassy’s principal representative here. South Korea’s representative also indicated that there is room for more cooperation to provide training and information sharing and exchange. What everyone agreed to however, is the need for strengthening of the Government’s internal coordination systems to reduce bureaucracy, increase collaboration and inter-ministerial communication to ensure that the full value and impact of international technical cooperation is realized for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development states that in order to strengthen the national systems for technical cooperation, Cabinet agreed to the development of an International Development Cooperation Division (IDCD) within the Ministry of Planning and Development. This new arrangement will create a focal point to streamline and more efficiently and effectively manage development cooperation in Trinidad and Tobago. The work of specific units dealing with the Caribbean Development Bank, the IDB and the European Union will also be coordinated by the IDCD. The groundwork is currently being laid to fully materialse the Cabinet decision.
To further realise the goal of enhancing our technical cooperation with international partners, the Ministry of Planning and Development, through its Technical Cooperation Unit, on Monday May 13 engaged a review of our country’s management of Technical Cooperation. This review involved a consultation with our Development Partners which included representatives of the diplomatic corps from Chile, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, the Peoples’ Republic of China, Colombia, Peru, the USA and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Also in attendance were representatives of partner development agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations’ system such as the WHO, PAHO and UNDP; UNESCO and the Organisation of American States. These diplomatic partners have also been involved in a new online survey on International Development Cooperation for the period 2016-2020.
For many countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, technical cooperation provides crucial support to the national development agenda. Our country has engaged in technical cooperation since 1961, to support national projects ranging from water and sanitation, to science and technology, trade, health and public sector modernization.
The improvement of the operations in this sphere will require the input of all stakeholders, and all Government ministries will be involved in a similar consultation on May 14. The current assessment of the national management of Technical Cooperation is important to national development as we explore more ways to improve the existing systems, as well as the Development of a National Policy for International Development Cooperation.