Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has hailed the collaboration between the United Nations and the countries of the Caribbean in tackling the various crises impacting the region and the world at large, including the global financial turmoil and climate change.
“In the current daunting international environment, our partnership is more important than ever,” Mr. Ban said in a message sent to the heads of government meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), taking place in Georgetown, Guyana, today and tomorrow.
Mr. Ban noted that CARICOM nations, which are highly vulnerable to external shocks and among the most indebted in the world, are especially affected by the economic and financial crisis.
“The declines in foreign investment, tourism and remittance, which account for a large share of income, are of great concern,” he told the gathering. In addition, the close links between the domestic banking sector and international banks mean that many countries are experiencing tightening liquidity, thereby reducing domestic credit and causing the cancellation of several projects.
“The global community must come together to address the impact of the crisis, in particular on the poor – those least responsible for the crisis and least able to respond,” said Mr. Ban. “We must keep global commitments on aid. We must reform and update our international institutions.”
Citing the need to for better real-time data on the consequences of such crises, the Secretary-General informed the meeting that he would soon launch a Global Vulnerability Alert System.
Mr. Ban also highlighted the serious threat posed by climate change to the economic and physical viability of Caribbean countries, and called on them to continue showing leadership in efforts to “seal the deal” in Copenhagen in December, when countries are expected to wrap up negotiations on an agreement to slash greenhouse gas emissions.
Further, he called on Caribbean leaders to support a more integrated implementation of the Mauritius Strategy adopted at the 2005 UN conference on small islands, which addresses the unique development problems of this vulnerable group of countries in such areas as environmental management, transport, trade and sustainable development.