The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) works closely with a wide range of partners – including Member States of the United Nations, regional organizations, research bodies and civil society groups – to prevent and resolve conflict. Over the past year, we have looked at DPA’s collaboration with the Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Organization of American States. Today we focus on the latest meeting between the UN and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
In what UN Secretary-General called “an excellent opportunity to enhance our cooperation”, on 20 and 21 July, representatives of more than 30 entities of the UN system met with a delegation from the CARICOM’s Secretariat and associated institutions at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting, the ninth of its kind between the two organizations, was jointly organized by DPA and CARICOM’s Directorate for Foreign and Community Relations.
Speaking to the meeting, CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque outlined some of the major challenges the Caribbean regional forum faces, including the adverse effects of climate change, graduation from concessional development financing based on GDP per capita and not taking into account the inherent vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), crime and violence, the illicit trade in drugs and small arms, the threat of terrorism and extreme violence, the blacklisting of CARICOM member States as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions despite their compliance with the relevant OECD regimes, the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations, and the high economic cost of addressing non-communicable diseases.
“I am pleased to acknowledge that the UN System has been actively engaged with us as we strive to convince the international community that vulnerability must be considered in determining the sustainable development needs” of SIDS, LaRocque told participants.
In his remarks, Mr. LaRocque touched on one of the most important aspects of the meeting, namely that it provides the region with a regular opportunity to bring to the global stage issues that may not otherwise get a broad hearing. Thus, for example, during the session, recognizing that the impacts of climate change will be felt most strongly by SIDS, CARICOM sought support for adaptation and mitigation measures and in implementing national action plans as well meeting commitments under the COP Paris Agreement.
Secretary-General António Guterres told the CARICOM participants, “We are grateful to have benefited from your leadership on many pressing global issues” such as climate change and non-communicable diseases.
“Quite apart from the opportunity it gives our organizations to improve practical cooperation, the General Meetings also serve as a kind of megaphone to make the international community better aware of the issues affecting the region,” said Martha Doggett, director of DPA’s Americas Division. “It has been a particular privilege for DPA to continue our fruitful cooperation with CARICOM,” Ms. Doggett said. ”It’s wonderful to witness how the good intentions expressed in the Joint Statement of the Eighth General Meeting have turned into specific actions. Since that meeting, DPA has developed operational cooperation with CARICOM in two areas: electoral monitoring and counter-terrorism. We look forward to continuing our cooperation”.
At the conclusion of the Ninth General Meeting, participants adopted a Joint Statement, that will form their blueprint for cooperation until the Tenth General Meeting, set to take place in 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana.