As CARICOM and United Nations meet in New York to discuss how the international body can better support the Region’s strategic goals, UN Secretary-General, H.E. António Guterres has lauded CARICOM’s leadership on many pressing global issues.
Speaking at the opening of the 9th Biennial CARICOM-UN General Meeting in New York on Thursday 20 July, the UN SG said:
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the decision by the General Assembly to grant the Caribbean Community observer status. Since then, we have worked productively together and, today, our organizations are both undergoing processes of review and strategic planning to better face the challenges of a changing international reality. We are grateful to have benefited from your leadership on many pressing global issues.”
He highlighted CARICOM’s spearheading of the General Assembly’s discussion on non-communicable diseases.
“I am aware that, translating this vision into action, the CARICOM Heads of Government during their recent summit in Grenada, adopted a set of recommendations on measures to address the rise of NCDs in the region.”
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Port-of-Spain Declaration – ‘Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’. It was a launching pad for NCDs to become a feature on the United Nations (UN) Agenda, and in 2011 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a political resolution on the fight against the prevention of NCDs globally. While the Heads of Government of CARICOM at their recently concluded 38th Regular Summit recognised that the Community had not sufficiently advanced the recommended actions with regard to the Declaration, they recommitted themselves to the promotion of healthy lifestyles to combat the epidemic of NCDs.
Mr Guterres also described the Community as “pioneers” in elevating awareness on climate change, with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) serving as a symbol of CARICOM governments working together to address the specific vulnerability of Caribbean states.
“You have highlighted the need to protect the world’s oceans and the special circumstances of the Small Island Development States,” he said, adding that the ambitious outcomes produced from the UN Oceans Conference on SGD 14 needed concrete follow-up to ensure that all nations work together to meet their obligations.
The UN Secretary-General said he was hopeful that the meeting’s discussions would identify areas for stronger cooperation towards reaching the Community Strategic Plan’s 2019 goals of improving economic, social, environmental and technological resilience, as well as strengthening governance and coordinating foreign policy among Member States.
“As you know, the United Nations is also in a process of wide-ranging reform encompassing the development system, the peace and security architecture and our internal management. Our main objective is to serve countries better, and to support your efforts to achieve national priorities, including the Sustainable Development Goals. We are also seeking to strengthen the regional policy backbone and our partnerships with regional organizations.”
“You will have seen my report on the development system; we will have our retreat on management reform two days from now; and I look forward to continuing our discussions across the full agenda of change,” the UN SG stated
As he lauded the CARICOM-UN cooperation, he expressed gratitude for the Community’s role as “advocates of the UN presence in Haiti.”
“A new mission will be deployed soon to accompany the Haitian Government as it consolidates the progress achieved together during in the past few years. We will continue to count on your strong support as we strive to help Haiti to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address the cholera epidemic,” the UN SG stated.
He also commended the sterling contributions of Caribbean nationals whom he said featured prominently among his senior advisers and the UN leadership including, Guyana’s Ms Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General of the General Assembly Affairs and Conference Management; and Trinidad and Tobago’s Ms Sandra Honoré, Special Representative and Head of MINUSTAH.