First publishedin World Highways
IRF congress fulfils critical missing link between Caribbean stakeholders
Over 200 delegates from 31 countries took part in the 1st IRF Caribbean Regional Congress, a new platform for dialogue at the service of a region with fast-evolving infrastructure needs.
As they address the questions of development and global integration, many of the Caribbean region's island nations are adopting visionary measures to adapt their highway infrastructure to the needs of a booming economy, growing regional trade and an increasingly mobile population. With this regional Congress, IRF Washington
’s goal was to help policymakers transform these strategic objectives into planning and investment decisions, based on a shared understanding of safer road design and asset management principles. Key to the extraordinary success of the Congress was the support of all the multilateral development banks present in the region as well as major regional and international stakeholders.
The opening session was marked by a keynote address delivered by Dr Omar Davies, Jamaica’s minister of Transport, Works & Housing who noted the Congress is being held as Jamaica and the Caribbean region prepare to implement the United Nations Road Safety Resolution declaring 2011-2020 as the Global Decade of Action for Road Safety. “Our commitment to Road Safety is clear and unambiguous”, the minister added, “we are beginning to see the benefits, as there has been a 20% reduction in road fatalities between January and March this year”. Citing the work of IRF, the minister also encouraged Caribbean nations to work with international stakeholders in developing world-class traffic road infrastructure and institutions.
Also opening the Congress, IRF president & CEO C. Patrick Sankey read a statement prepared by IRF Washington chairman Abdullah Al-Mogbel, deputy minister of transport of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The chairman hailed IRF’s sustained commitment to enhanced regional dialogue among road stakeholders, as witnessed by the extraordinary success of previous regional congresses in Latin America and the Middle-East. “This congress is truly a collaborative endeavor”, Sankey concluded, “and we intend to give maximum international resonance to its key findings.”
Both addresses were followed by a panel discussion with senior representatives of international institutions (Caribbean Development Bank
, Inter-American Development Bank
, World Bank
and Organization of American States) which explored the use of road asset management tools and dedicated funding instruments at the service of the region’s strategic infrastructure priorities.