Published On: Wed, Jul 24th, 2013

Joint statement of the Seventh General Meeting between Representatives of the United Nations System and the Caribbean Community

  1. The Seventh General Meeting between the United Nations (UN) system and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and its associated institutions was convened at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York on 22 and 23 July 2013. Opening Remarks were given by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. BAN Ki-moon, and by the Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. The meeting, which enjoyed wide participation from representatives of the UN system as well as from representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions, was co-chaired by Ms. Martha Doggett, Chief of the Americas Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs, and Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat. Closing remarks were delivered by Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations congratulated CARICOM on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary and welcomed the opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations. He thanked CARICOM countries for their leadership in raising the world’s awareness on climate change, the particular challenges of Small Island Developing States and the issue of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). He commended the role played by CARICOM during the negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty. The Secretary-General reiterated his concern for the challenges that the region faces, such as the negative effects of climate change and organized crime. The Secretary-General highlighted the region’s strong sense of solidarity and expressed his gratitude for the role played by CARICOM as an advocate for Haiti. He welcomed the consideration during the meeting of the current mechanisms for the United Nations to cooperate with the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions as a way to reinforce the existing partnership between the two organizations.
  3. The Secretary-General of CARICOM expressed appreciation to the UN and its agencies for its strong collaboration with institutions of the Community in accordance with regional objectives. He reiterated the importance of the biennial encounters between CARICOM and the UN to address priority areas that will yield tangible benefits to the citizens of the Community, particularly at a time when the world contemplates a future beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and prepares for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is of paramount importance to the region. He underscored citizen security, NCDs and climate change as among the critical areas in which the UN and CARICOM have forged enduring and important partnerships. He highlighted the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), adopted under the auspices of the UN, particularly the provisions to stem the illegal trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). The Secretary-General also drew attention to the impact of the protracted global financial and economic crisis, exacerbated by onerous debt, and graduation from access to concessionary development funding, resulting in an unfavourable prognosis for CARICOM’s economic growth. In this regard, he underscored the importance of reliable, accessible, and sufficient financing for development, and deepening CARICOM-UN collaboration to build capacity in pursuit of sustainable development in the Caribbean region.
  4. As part of the review of progress in the implementation of decisions made since the previous General Meeting, participants heard a presentation on the new coordination mechanism for UN programmatic assistance in the Caribbean. This mechanism was established as a follow-up to the Sixth General Meeting held in July 2011 and is led by the UN Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), whose Chairman, Mr. Heraldo Muñoz, briefed meeting participants.
  5. The UNDG LAC has been conducting internal consultations in preparation for working in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions to improve coherence and effectiveness in their joint activities and to determine a regional approach that addresses the specific needs and challenges of the Caribbean. To that end, the UNDG LAC prepared two reports that were discussed at a meeting held in October 2012 between UN and CARICOM officials in Georgetown, Guyana. The UNDG LAC and the CARICOM Secretariat agreed to engage in further consultations on, inter alia, three priority areas for future collaboration proposed by UNDG LAC: Climate Change and the Environment; Institutional Strengthening; and Human Security. The UN advised that technical working groups of relevant UN entities have been established and are currently preparing proposals for joint initiatives aimed at maximizing priority area progress, strengthening collaboration and improving development efforts in the Caribbean region. These initiatives would also provide an opportunity to move towards more coherent engagement in the organizations’ long-standing partnership. The UNDG LAC and CARICOM also agreed to engage in further discussions on a range of priorities, such as NCDs. The issues of sustainable tourism and transportation were also raised. They further agreed to jointly examine levels and appropriate modalities for consultation and the sharing of critical information.
  6. Given the priorities agreed between the UN and the CARICOM Secretariat for collaboration under the new coordination mechanism, the Seventh General Meeting dedicated specific sessions for dialogue on these issues. In addition, special attention was paid to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the situation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including the preparations for the Third International Conference on SIDS that will take place in 2014 and the link between the two. On the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, briefed meeting participants on the report of the High Level Panel and the way forward for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CARICOM underlined the challenges facing small, vulnerable middle income countries and the importance of building resilience to attain sustainable development.
  7. Other key issues that were discussed in depth at the meeting were the regional challenges regarding transnational organized crime, citizen security and the impact of crime on children, youth and women. UN support to the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy of 2013 was outlined. In addition, the importance of promoting agricultural development and adopting measures to ensure food and nutrition security in the region, as well as the role of information and communication technology for development, such as C@ribnet, as a powerful tool and catalyst for change and sustainable development, were emphasized.
  8. CARICOM provided an update on the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), including core CSME regimes and priority initiatives being pursued to advance the development of the region. CARICOM placed emphasis on the issue of regional growth and initiatives to address some of the development challenges. This new framework for growth and development required a resource mobilisation strategy which emphasised non-traditional sources of financing and a public investment programme which would unleash the growth potential of targeted sectors in the CARICOM region. CARICOM has also embarked on a three-year change management process, which should result in a transformed Secretariat with strategic focus and implementation capacity, a five-year strategic plan for the Community and reform of regional institutions.
  9. Participants acknowledged that the Seventh UN-CARICOM General Meeting achieved its goal of strengthening the existing partnership between the two organizations and in identifying ways to maximize progress in the priority areas of cooperation.

New York, 23 July 2013

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