On Friday 19 November, the ambassadors and embassy members of Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic paid a working visit to the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Ostend.
The purpose of this working visit was to introduce the SICA/CAIS (Central American Integration System) countries to VLIZ's field of activity, which is very broad. After all, VLIZ is active on a local level (together with the province of West Flanders and Flemish coastal municipalities), on a Flemish and national level and on the European and international stage (UNESCO/IOC).
They also got to know a number of other organizations such as the Blue Cluster (of which VLIZ is a member), the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), the European Marine Observation and data Network (EMODnet) and the European Marine Board.
In the afternoon, a visit was made to the Marine Station Ostend, where various laboratories and the Marine Robotics Center of VLIZ are located.
The ambassadors were also informed about the different cooperation modalities and consider better relations with VLIZ to be very valuable. This visit paved the way for more cooperation between Flanders and the SICA countries. Panama is currently already involved in a project on integrated coastal management in UNESCO context.