Published On: Tue, Jul 30th, 2013

The Opening Ceremony of the Third High Level Forum on Donor Coordination Georgetown, Guyana

LaroqueCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana - Welcome Remarks by  Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary -General, Caribbean Community at the Opening Ceremony of the Third High –Level Forum on Donor Coordination, Georgetown, Guyana 30 July  2013.

I wish to extend a very warm welcome to all participants to the Third High-Level Forum on Donor Coordination. The last High-Level Forum was in July 2011 and much has transpired since. The gap between these Meetings has been too long but I am sure that over the next day and a half we will make up for the time lost.

Interaction with you, our Development Partners, comes within the context of our Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which, at Article 24(c), requires the Secretary-General of the Community to “identify and mobilise, as required, external resources to implement decisions at the regional level and to undertake studies and develop decisions on relevant issues into implementable proposals.”

Article 25(f) of the Treaty requires the Secretariat to “coordinate in relation to the Community the activities of donor agencies, international, regional and national institutions for achievement of objectives of the Community”.

It is against this background and in the environment created by the ongoing Economic and Financial Crisis that we meet today.

We are all acutely aware that from 2008 the Global Economy has been experiencing a series of crises.  This commenced with high food prices in 2008, moved to the financial crisis, high energy prices, sovereign debt crisis and the near meltdown of the international financial and banking system.

That fall-out is still being felt deeply in this Region.  Stagnant or declining growth rates, high per capita debt, falling fiscal revenues, diminishing fiscal space and increasing unemployment have been a prominent feature of some of the economies of CARICOM Member States, particularly over the past few years.

That situation has severely challenged the capacity of most CARICOM States to self finance their own development.  Grant financing and access to concessionary financial resources to finance development are becoming increasingly more important to CARICOM States, particularly at this time, when some of our International Development Partners are looking inwards and are even reducing the net outflow of their development cooperation provided through grant aid and concessionary financing.

Adding to the obstacles has been the troubling and vexing issues of differentiation and graduation which deny many of our countries access to such funding.  To graduate CARICOM Member States from access to grant aid, concessionary financial resources or technical assistance, on the basis of per capita income cannot be right.  Per Capita Income is, at best, an arithmetic ratio.  It does not measure the level of poverty; it does not address the distribution of income; it does not say whether the economy is resilient and on a path to sustainable growth, and it certainly does not measure the capacity of a country to self-finance its growth.

As some of our partners shift from bi-lateral assistance to increasing reliance on Regional Programmes, there is greater responsibility on the CARICOM Secretariat to ensure coordination of the regional resource mobilisation effort, to attempt to minimise any adverse impact of such a shift on our individual Member States and to ensure value for money and optimisation of the use of these dwindling resources.

The CARICOM Heads of Government, at their Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting held earlier this month in Trinidad and Tobago, instructed the Secretariat to design a Resource Mobilisation Strategy to ensure adequate financing of regional and national priorities to catalyse and ignite growth in CARICOM States.  Today’s Meeting is a step in the design of such a Strategy.  We will familiarise you with our development plans, strategies and priorities.  We will jointly examine priority areas in which you can be of assistance to us.  We will map out approaches intended to ensure that your assistance will facilitate development in our areas of priority and we will address how we can optimise the use of scarce resources.  As a Community we are looking for results and impact and we would welcome your cooperation and support in that regard.

Colleagues, I am looking for the following outcomes from this very important High Level consultation:

1.             Increasing the number of Community priorities into International Development Partners Bi-lateral and Regional Programmes.

2.            Increasing donor contributions to multi-year programmes of the Community.

3.            Increasing the number of multi-donors funded projects and programmes.

4.            Ensuring that Community positions are reflected in the ongoing discussions on International Donor Coordination and Aid Effectiveness, SIDS, and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

CARICOM, as an integration grouping, approaches such issues on a collective basis.  In fact, it forms part of our coordinated foreign policy. We will advance our case for improved access to resources in the ongoing discussions on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.  We will link our foreign policy positions to access to resources.  We have no choice in these matters if our people are to survive and if our countries are to be placed on a path to sustainable and resilient economic growth.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank our traditional partners for their continued support and assistance.  I wish also to thank our non-traditional partners for their support and to say to both groups that as a Community we shall be examining how we can introduce innovations in our Development Cooperation relationship with you so as to keep increasing the value and impact of that assistance.

I propose to institutionalise this Meeting to ensure that as a Community, represented by Member States, the CARICOM Secretariat and CARICOM Regional Institutions, we meet with International Development Partners on an annual basis.  Such an institutionalised Meeting could also serve as a forum for an exchange of views on important issues such as Aid Effectiveness, Management for Development Results, and other important global and developmental issues.

I wish to end by repeating my thanks for your continued support and to express the hope that we can count on you as partners, for increasing levels of support in the future.


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