CARICOM calls for focused global attention on impact of climate change on small vulnerable states – WTO Ministerial Meeting

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Plenary at the WTO Ministerial (photo via WTO)

This year, many small and vulnerable economies in the Caribbean, including some in CARICOM, notably Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Bahamas,  Haiti, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Anguilla, Turks and Caicos suffered massive devastation and absolute destruction of critical infrastructure from two unprecedented hurricanes, fueled by global warming and climate change.

Colleague Ministers, many of these countries are faced with the herculean task of reconstructing their entire economies. Recovery and redevelopment, including that of their productive capacity, will take several years.

For many of these countries, the timeframes associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals no longer apply.

It is for these reasons that the time has now come for focused global attention to be paid to the impact of climate change on trade and the  vulnerability of  Small States, like those in CARICOM, whose attempts to insert themselves effectively into the global trading system frequently suffers from the devastating effects of natural disasters.

Accordingly, CARICOM calls on this Conference to support the Declarations of the Small Economies of the OECS and that of the   Ministers of the Small and Vulnerable Economies Group, for the full flexibility of the multilateral trading system be deployed regarding the reconstruction measures that may be undertaken by the affected Members so that these   be considered compatible with the WTO Agreements.

 

Extract from Statement on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) delivered by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise development and Consumer Affairs of Saint Lucia, Hon. Bradley Felix at the Eleventh World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 11 December 2017.

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Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean addressing the Conference

The Member States in attendance include:  Barbados, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Dominica; Grenada; Haiti; Guyana; Jamaica, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; St. Kitts/Nevis; Saint Lucia,  led by the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs; St. Vincent & the Grenadines led by the Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade;  and Trinidad and Tobago.  CARICOM representatives are playing an active role in the Conference; the Minister of Jamaica is a Facilitator for the negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies Disciplines and is chairing those discussions; and the Minister of Barbados is the Co-ordinator of the ACP Group, thereby representing the Group in the negotiations.

In light of a questioning of the need for  special and differential treatment for developing countries ( by the USA, in particular,)  and a calling into question of a developmental approach in the WTO, CARICOM places great importance on a re-affirmation by the Conference of the multilateral trading system as embodied by the WTO Agreements, that fully provides special and differential treatment for developing countries, especially Small and Vulnerable Economies such as those in the region, in order to assist their insertion into the global trading system.

Read Minister Felix’ full remarks: (more…)

‘Our region needs to be a zone of peace’- Guyana PM tells CANSEC conference

Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)
Prime Minister of Guyana, the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo with some members of the CANSEC delegation during a photo op. (Photo via DPI)

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has signalled the need for Guyana and the rest of the region to be a zone of peace, free from the scourge of money laundering, piracy and other illicit activities.

Coconut boost for Barbados, Region

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Barbados and the region can have a bustling coconut industry, despite being smaller than major growers such as Indonesia and The Philippines.

This assertion was made by Maurice Wilson, who is the Regional Coconut Industry Coordinator at the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).

He was speaking with the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) following the inaugural meeting of the National Stakeholders Platform (NSP) on the coconut industry, recently held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Graeme Hall offices.

Barbados is among 11 CARIFORUM countries participating in a European Union (EU)-funded Caribbean Coconut Industry Development project. The Euro 4 million project, being executed by CARDI, is geared towards enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s coconut industry, thereby ensuring food security, creating jobs and generating revenue.

Mr. Wilson gave an overview of the undertaking, and noted that the Caribbean’s coconut industry was thrown into a tailspin decades ago, after coconut oil was deemed unhealthy. “In the 1970s, the coconut industry in the region virtually collapsed, because there was a soya bean lobby, which indicated that coconut oil was bad for the system.

Read more at: Barbados Government Information Service

Bahamas PM warns region at great risk of climate change

CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)
CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Dec 5, CMC – The 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) has begun here with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis noting that small-island developing states in the region are at great risk of climate change.

The conference, which ends on Saturday, is being held under the theme ‘CDM: The Road to Resilience Check Point 2017 – Building Resilience through Partnerships’.

It is taking place as the region continues the rebuilding efforts following the end of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season that saw two category five storms – Irma and Maria – cause widespread destruction and death across the Lesser Antilles as well as the Bahamas.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin islands were among the islands hard4est hit after the hurricanes pounded the region with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Via CMC (more…)

Hurricane season officially ends, but impact lingers

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It is finally over.

According to the calendar of the National Hurricane Center, November 30 marks the official end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which spawned 17 named storm.

Here in the Caribbean, September was particularly brutal with the passage of two Category 5 monsters, Irma and Maria, which left an unprecedented path of death and destruction.

Countries such as Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Maarten/Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands all took direct hits and will take years to recover.

The World Bank said damages and losses, in the wake of Hurricane Maria, in Dominica amount to US$1.3-billion or 224 percent of GDP.

Read more at: Dominica News Online