The country of Austria is hoped to become more involved in St Lucia’s development following a “productive” visit by Minister for the Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy and Science and Technology Dr James Fletcher to that country recently.
According to a press release, Fletcher visited Vienna, Austrie where he met with several officials of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and other international agencies based there.
He held talks with newly elected Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Li Yong on sustainable energy efforts and ways in which the UNIDO could assist. The minister expressed his hope for Vienna to become more active in the Caribbean, the release said.
“Among the many issues discussed in several other meetings with UNIDO heads of department were the development of an energy master plan for Saint Lucia, support for Saint Lucia’s efforts in transforming agricultural primary commodities into high value-added products, helping with developing new spheres of economic activity in rural communities, through agriculture and craft industries, assistance in a programme for the upgrading of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the conduct of a vulnerability needs assessment for the water sector, to include a study to extend ongoing work on groundwater exploration, and a science and technology foresight exercise,” the release said.
Discussions were also held with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on matters relating to water and food security. The release informed of possible collaborations on wastewater treatment, water quality monitoring, improving food security and food safety, along with disaster risk reduction.
There were additional discussions with representatives of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce on matters of energy. The development of a low-cost, low-energy housing programme, the operations of a biomass plant, and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) on possible financial support for the energy and water sectors were some of topics addressed, the release said.
Fletcher also had a meeting with Quality Austria to “explore the possibility of using ISO Quality Management standards in Saint Lucia’s public sector transformation programme.”