Caribbean can only ‘build back better’ with international support, urgent climate action – UN, CARICOM Chiefs and Heads of Government

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New York, 21 November 2017 – In view of the urgent needs of Caribbean islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the “CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community ” mobilised a broad partnership to support reconstruction efforts, including through over US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

Support derived from nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered at UN headquarters today with the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help countries to “build back better” as the first climate-resilient countries in the world

Recovery costs surpass $5billion, according to the latest needs estimates. In some cases the impact is 3.5 times countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), for example in the British Virgin Islands.The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been significantly affected, according to assessments made public during the conference, organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) working with sister UN agencies.

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Heartening support for hurricane-ravaged countries at Pledging Conference

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.

Widespread concern for CARICOM countries severely affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria was evident at the opening of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, 21 November.

Addressing the large gathering which included the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, International Development Partners, and representatives of governments, the private sector and the United Nations System, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said their presence demonstrated strong interest and deep concern about the situation in the Community.

He told the UN SG:

“You were there to see at first hand the damage inflicted by the hurricanes. You have ensured it stayed in the attention of the international community and today you are here with us to emphasise your commitment.  I thank you so very much Secretary-General.” (more…)

CARICOM, UN Chiefs, Heads of Government call for support to build back better in Caribbean

New York, 15 November 2017 – After two back-to-back category five hurricanes swept across the Caribbean two months ago cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives and impacting livelihoods, recovery costs are estimated at over US$3billion. In some of the most impacted island states recovery needs are equivalent to over 200 percent of countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Aiming to mobilise support for affected countries to “build back better” as the first climate-resilient countries in the world, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will hold the CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community on 21 November at UN Headquarters in New York.

Media Representatives are invited to cover the Conference in its entirety as well as a Press Briefing  on 20 November, at 11am.’

 

DETAILS
What: CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community

When/Where: Tuesday November 21, 9am-5:15pm, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, NY
CARICOM-UN Conference Opening Session 9-9:45am:

  • CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque
  • UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
  • President of General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák
  • Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne
  • Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit
  • Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell
  • Moderator: UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner

What: PRESS BRIEFING  
When: Monday, November 20, 11-11:45 am
Where: UN SG’s Spokesperson Briefing Room (S-237)
Who:

  • Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne
  • Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit (TBC)
  • UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner
  • Q&A

 

For Media Accreditation at UN headquarters in New York: http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/
For full agenda please go to    http://resilientcaribbean.caricom.org
Live webcast:    https://webtv.un.org;   http://caricom.org/ ; http://today.caricom.org/  

Coordinated approach necessary to manage external relations – COTED hears

The importance of effectively managing the external relations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was strongly underscored at the opening of the 45th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Thursday in Georgetown, Guyana.

Chair of the COTED, the Hon. Paula Gopie-Scoon, Trade and Industry Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,  and Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary General referred to the current international trade climate and stressed the need for coordinated approach to external economic relations.

While many of the agenda items focus on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, the Region’s flagship programme, and trade in goods, Ministers will place emphasis on matters such as future trade with the United Kingdom post-BREXIT; developments within the World Trade Organisation (WTO); and the state of the rum industry in CARIFORUM.

“We must remember that our strength as a Region depends on a coordinated approach to policies. This includes the external economic and trade relations of the Community which we will address during the course of this Meeting”, Minister Gopie-Scoon said at the opening session.

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More opportunities provided for private sector as CARICOM, Cuba expand duty-free market access

 

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba on Thursday signed the Second Protocol to an Agreement that will expand access to each other’s markets for goods.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, and Cuban Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, signed the Second Protocol to the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba during the opening of the 45th Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown, Guyana.

Under the Second Protocol, Cuba will expand duty free access to more than 320 items including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and apparel. CARICOM will grant duty free access to some 50 items, including fish, pharmaceutical products, fertilisers and articles of iron and steel. The Community will also offer differentiated treatment on 22 items. The differentiated treatment includes phased reduction of duty by Most Developed Countries in CARICOM.

The CARICOM Secretary-General said that signing the Second Protocol marked a further deepening of the trade and economic relations between CARICOM and Cuba and provided further opportunities for the Region’s private sector.

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