As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and United Nations (UN) meet in New York, USA, to discuss how the international body can better support the Region’s strategic goals, UN Secretary-General, His Excellency 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 organisations 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.”
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have given a renewed commitment to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in their countries. The matter was raised by Prime Minister Mitchell during the closing press conference of the 38th CARICOM Summit, in Grand Anse, Grenada. In speaking to the issue, Prime Minister Mitchell highlighted that it had been 10 years since the historic Port-of-Spain Declaration on NCDs.
The Grenadian Prime Minister said the Heads were aware that the Region had fallen behind in the battle against these deadly diseases and also in fulfilling the goals of the declaration. He said one of the most alarming signs was the high incidents of childhood obesity, a major risk factor for NCDs
“We simply cannot afford to continue the lifestyle and food consumption patterns which are literally killing us”, he said.
Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, the Chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 1 July, 2017. See the Grenada National Report broadcast below that highlights the areas Grenada will focus on during its six-months as Chair.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the landmark CARICOM Heads of Government Port-of-Spain Declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Thirty-Eighth CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, July 4-6, is expected to celebrate this momentous achievement. In 2007, the Caribbean led the world in convening the very first conference of Heads of Government on NCDs which in turn paved the way for the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2011.
A ten-year anniversary is a good time to take stock, to look at how far we have come and how far we need to go. In terms of progress made in the NCD response, the picture appears to be a decidedly mixed one. Awareness of NCDs and their devastating effect on the health and development of the region has grown enormously. The dangers of childhood obesity are much better known. Barbados and Dominica have introduced taxes on sugary drinks and more countries are set to follow.
— Deodat Maharaj (@deodat_maharaj) July 1, 2017
According to Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr. James Hospedales, “while several governments have made policy and financial provision for free medications, oftentimes people don’t take their medicines consistently and therefore don’t get the benefit.”
Regarding some of the other challenges Dr. Hospedales said “there are gains in some areas however some, like diet/nutrition/obesity just keep getting worse, and that drives diabetes, cancer, heart disease.’