Published On: Wed, Dec 10th, 2014

CARICOM-Cuba summit stresses Caribbean unity and integration

caricom_cuba5HAVANA, Cuba -- The fifth Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-Cuba summit held in Havana on Monday adopted a final declaration aiming at the strengthening of unity and regional integration and expressing the firm stance of the member states of CARICOM.

The following are the highlights of the declaration:

• To strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity between the countries, for the promotion of bilateral and regional programmes as well as triangular cooperation for development, taking into account the development priorities of the countries;

• Recognized that cooperation between Cuba and the countries of the Caribbean Community in areas such as health, the development of human resources, construction and sports, has effectively contributed to the growth of wellbeing of their peoples;

• Expressed appreciation to the government of Cuba for the financing of the Caribbean Regional School of Arts in Jamaica, and the Centre for Treatment of Physical Disabilities to assist physically challenged children and youth, to be based in Guyana, during the upcoming triennial period;

• Expressed further appreciation to Cuba for the increase in under-graduate scholarships as well as post-graduate scholarships for specialization in medicine, the increase in patient intake from CARICOM states for free medical care, as well as training in disaster risk reduction and response to natural disasters;

• Committed to continue promoting social initiatives as well as the implementation of projects to improve the air and sea infrastructure and connectivity between the countries and broaden economic and trade relations through the implementation of the revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

• Welcomed the progress in the negotiations to expand market access and improve economic cooperation under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement and encouraged officials to continue to work in the spirit of solidarity and goodwill in order to conclude negotiations by the end of the second quarter of 2015;

• Emphasized that the updating of Cuban economic model, its Foreign Investment Law and the Special Mariel Development Economic Zone, provide additional opportunities, on a much broader scale, to accelerate and strengthen CARICOM-Cuba economic ties;

• Recognized the importance to the Caribbean countries to take advantage of the potential offered by the regional and subregional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE, as well as international mechanisms such as BRICS;

• Reaffirmed solidarity with Haiti and reiterate a strong commitment to the recovery efforts after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and fully respecting for its sovereignty;

• Affirmed the commitments made at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States that took place in Apia, Samoa, 1st - 4th September 2014, as well as the commitments outlined in the Outcome Document.

• Affirmed the readiness to work together on a Regional Strategic Agenda to address Disaster Risk Management in a comprehensive manner, taking into account disaster risk estimates and reduction, human assistance and reconstruction, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182, in order to address the serious consequences of climate change in the countries;

• Decided to strengthen our cooperation to address the negative effects of climate change and reiterated a call for a binding agreement that will stabilize the rise of world temperatures below the 2º C taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and to address the needs of the countries to the challenges of adapting to impacts of climate change, in accordance with the Framework Convention and the decisions of the Conferences of the Parties;

• Committed to strengthen cooperation for the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of resources, in particular those in the Caribbean Sea and support the efforts made by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to declare the Caribbean Sea a Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development within the UN Framework;

• Reaffirmed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and expressed profound alarm that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally. All countries, particularly developing countries, are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and are already experiencing an increase in such impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events, sea level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, further threatening food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Adaptation to climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority;

• Committed to combating trafficking in persons, illicit drugs trafficking and illicit trafficking of small arms, bearing in mind the characteristics, scope and magnitude of these problems in each individual state.

• Develop cooperation in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in full conformity with the principles of international law, with the aim of promoting their contributions to the sustainable development of the member states of CARICOM and Cuba, particularly in the fields of education, health care, science and technology, innovation, agriculture and any other sector where it may be required;

• To continue moving forward on cooperation in matters of food security, as a decisive contribution towards the elimination of hunger, poverty and marginalization, not only in the area of the Caribbean but also on a world level, by the intensification of coordinated efforts and interchanges in matters of agricultural technology, nutrition and other sectors that contribute towards that goal;

• Welcomed the immediate unified actions of ALBA-TCP, Cuba and CARICOM, accompanied by the other member countries of CELAC to prevent the spread of the Ebola epidemic in our region and to deal with it if necessary and committed to promoting and broadening said cooperation by adopting preventive measures, training of qualified personnel, creating institutions to carry out research on that disease;

• Recognized the support and solidarity of Cuba in sending doctors and medical personnel to the countries of West Africa affected by the epidemic, and in training qualified personnel in other African countries to prevent it from spreading and be prepared to confront it;

• Support efforts in preventing the entry, spread and facilitating the treatment of non-communicable diseases, HIV-AIDS and other diseases such as dengue and chikungunya and also support projects aimed at assisting differently-abled persons in the region;

• Demanded an immediate end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba and, especially, to its extraterritorial nature and the financial persecution of Cuban transactions, whose severity increases daily; the inclusion of Cuba on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism, prepared and published unilaterally by the US State Department, and all undercover actions that the US government is carrying out to subvert domestic law and order in Cuba, including those that involve the illegal use of information and communications technologies, that constitute violations of Cuban sovereignty and its people's right to self-determination;

• Reaffirmed the unequivocal position of the Caribbean Community in favour of Cuba attending the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama, in April 2015, on an equal footing of sovereignty, and without any conditions, which coincides with the position of solidarity expressed in different fora throughout the region;

• Emphasized that the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda must be a universal process, open, transparent and inclusive, on the basis of unrestricted respect for the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and focused on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Stressed that said Agenda must respond to the special needs of small developing States, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in accordance with their respective national laws and development priorities in respect to attaining sustainable development. The Agenda should also incorporate all elements conducive to Sustainable Development, in particular culture, which must be a cross-cutting issue of the Agenda and with respect to which specific goals in the relevant objectives must be included;

• Affirmed that, even though middle-income countries in the Caribbean region have achieved significant advances in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, they still face enormous challenges in the path to development, including those derived from the nature of being small islands and those related with climate change. In this context, reiterated the call to adopt indicators that suitably reflect the realities of middle-income countries and, in particular, the specific problems of the Caribbean states, considering that the current criteria referring to average incomes, especially the criteria of per capita income indicators, do not reflect the multidimensional effects of poverty, inequality and vulnerability;

• Celebrated the outcome of the Second CELAC Summit in Havana, held on the 28th and 29th of January of 2014, in particular the Declaration of Havana, the historical Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the heads of state and government and the special declarations regarding small island developing states, the matter of reparations for the slavery and native genocide and the establishing of the China-CELAC Forum;

• Reaffirmed that the strengthening of CELAC as a forum for dialogue and an international political actor is one of the priorities fundamental to continue strengthening regional integration through political dialogue, cooperation and increased trade among the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America;

• Reaffirmed the importance of CARICOM's active participation within CELAC and emphasized the inclusion of the CARICOM presidency within the CELAC quartet;

• Noted the importance placed by the Caribbean Community on the issue of reparation for native genocide and Caribbean slavery and their desire to engage with the European countries intimately involved in native genocide and slave-owning in a reparatory dialogue to address the legacy of this crime against humanity;

• Decided to hold the sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit on 8 December 2017, in Antigua and Barbuda and the fifth ministerial meeting in Havana in June 2016.

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