CARICOM, China discuss strengthened cooperation in margins of CELAC Forum

Suriname’s Foreign Minister Ms Yldiz Pollack-Beighle greets China’s Foreign Minister Mr Wang Yi at the meeting
Suriname’s Foreign Minister the Hon. Yldiz Pollack-Beighle greets China’s Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi at the meeting

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has signalled its interest in working with China to ascertain how its goals and priorities can be best linked with existing, new and emerging development initiatives from the East Asian country.

Foreign Ministers of the nine CARICOM countries which recognise the People’s Republic of China met with their Chinese counterpart, Mr. Wang Yi,   on Sunday, 21 January, 2018, in the margins of the CELAC-China Forum (CCF) Second Ministerial Meeting that took place in Santiago, Chile, on 19-22 January, 2018.

“Concessional development funding is essential for the building of economic and climate resilience to serve as the platform for our sustainable development.” – Chair of COFCOR, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean

In remarks at the meeting, Chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean, underscored the importance CARICOM attached to the existing Caribbean-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, and the Caribbean-China Consultations. The latter was held in May 2016, and is expected to take place again later this year.

Describing those consultations as “valuable mechanisms for continued dialogue and cooperation,” she said the Community also saw the One Belt, One Road initiative China announced in Santiago, as a “very important cooperation and development mechanism.” (more…)

Major Financial Institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the IMF.

Speaking on Tuesday, 17 October, at the accreditation ceremony of the new Ambassador of Spain to CARICOM, His Excellency Javier Carbajosa Sanchez, the Secretary-General said the Banks were willing to work with CARICOM, but they cautioned that a final decision resided with the countries which sat on the boards.

CARICOM has been lobbying consistently for a reversal of the policy of graduation which sees some Member States denied access to concessionary development financing. Their graduation to middle income status, with the use of GDP per capita as a major criterion, has attracted commercial rates for development loans. This situation increases already high debt burdens in Member States.

“That debt burden was significantly incurred by reconstruction after major climatic events in a Region designated as the most natural disaster-prone in the world,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

See more photos of the accreditation ceremony. (more…)

CARICOM records productive engagements at UNGA

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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers took full advantage of the just-concluded 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen diplomatic relations with members the global community.

They had a fruitful engagement with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the Community’s priorities and developments in the UN, in a final exchange of views and ideas prior to him demitting office in December 2016. The UN SG lauded CARICOM’s strong partnership and thanked CARICOM Member States for their continued leadership in climate change and for their efforts to implement the 2030 sustainable development agenda. CARICOM noted the resource and capacity constraints in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Community had successful meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Morocco in an effort to forge new relations and deepen existing ties to support regional development. In this regard, discussions were held with a representative from the Italian Ministry of the Environment regarding the implementation of an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CARICOM Member States, and with senior UN officials to discuss ongoing cooperation in security and elections.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Assistant Secretary-General of the Directorate of Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson and other representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat held productive discussions with the President of Costa Rica, His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera. (more…)

Modify, modernise in current realities – CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General

As in the past, the Community needs to continually look to the future while addressing present challenges. It must modify and modernise its approaches, operations and frameworks in keeping with the ever-changing internal and external realities.” Ambassador Colin Granderson

The ever-changing internal and external realities have made it imperative for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to modify and modernise its approaches, operations and frameworks.

Ambassador Colin Granderson, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations.
Ambassador Colin Granderson, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations.

This is the message Ambassador Colin Granderson, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, took to a new corps of Guyanese diplomats late in July at the Foreign Service Institute in Georgetown, Guyana. His presentation was part of an orientation exercise for the new Heads of Missions.

In a wide-ranging presentation titled ‘CARICOM Trends: Towards the Future‘, Ambassador Granderson addressed the Community’s position in the international arena and outlined the steps it should take to confront the changes and challenges.

He traced the Community’s development from free trade through Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), to a Common Market, to a Single Market and, eventually, onto a Single Economy, and  pointed out that its history was never static. Rather, the Community always had an “eye on the future”.

“As in the past, the Community needs to continually look to the future while addressing present challenges. It must modify and modernise its approaches, operations and frameworks in keeping with the ever-changing internal and external realities.

“For example, as part of modernising operations, greater prominence should be given to the use of e-governance to facilitate the timely provision of public goods. At the end of the day, CARICOM needs to be more effective in its implementation. As regards trends toward the future, it is quite clear that a number of the future priorities will be similar to those of the past,” the Assistant Secretary-General said.

(more…)

 

Japan to give ‘utmost consideration’ to issue of ‘graduation’

Japan’s Foreign Minister, the Honourable Fumio Kishida, has indicated his country’s intention to give “utmost consideration” to concerns of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the  issue of graduation from concessionary funding based on the narrow measurement of GDP per capita, and to the value of expanding this measurement to include a vulnerability index.

The indication was provided during the  Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of CARICOM and Japan in Tokyo, 15 November, 2014.

According to him, the importance of assisting the Community from perspectives other than those based on per capita income was recognised. He said his country would extend its cooperation towards overcoming these vulnerabilities, utilising Japanese technologies and expertise in fields such as disaster risk reduction, countermeasures against environmental degradation, climate change, renewable energy, waste management and fisheries.

Read more FOREIGN MINISTERS FOLLOW UP ON FIRST CARICOM-JAPAN SUMMIT