This mission is part of a process of country strategy identification and IUC selection rolled out by VLIR-UOS in the context of the implementation of the political agreement signed in 2010. This agreement necessitates VLIR-UOS to formulate a strategy for each of its 20 VLIR-UOS partner countries. This will be done in a phased manner, Cuba being one of the first six countries for which a strategy will be formulated by the end of 2011. Missions are conducted by country teams consisting of two experts (one international and one local expert), a member of the Bureau UOS and the VLIR-UOS country desk officer.
The Republic of Cuba is a free socialist, sovereign, and collective State. Cuba is an archipelago located in the western- most part of the Caribbean Sea, comprising the island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and some 1,600 smaller islands and keys, for a total land area of 110,860 km2. Cuba is the largest island of the grouping of the Caribbean, situated west of Hispaniola island (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and 145 km south of Key West, Florida (US).
Cuba is divided into 15 provinces and 1 special municipality (Isla de la Juventud). The former province of La Habana was recently (2010) divided into 2 new provinces: Mayabeque and Artemisa. 75.8% of Cubans live in urban areas. In recent years, population growth has slowed significantly. Cuba is characterized by uniformity in the geographical distribution of its population and the variables that comprise it. The central provinces and the capital have older populations.