Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended States in the Caribbean region for their commitment to supporting Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January and urged them to continue their engagement there, saying the country will need consistent assistance from the international community to recover.
“Your engagement is central to ensuring sustained and long-term attention to Haiti's needs,” Mr. Ban said when he addressed the 31st meeting of heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Montego Bay, Jamaica, late yesterday.
Recovery will take many years, and will require consistent effort by all Haiti's partners,” Mr. Ban said, adding that he was honoured to be the first Secretary-General of the United Nations to address a CARICOM summit. Haiti, he said, will continue to be a priority of the UN, adding that elections in November will be fundamental for ensuring the country's democratic future.
Mr. Ban welcomed the General Assembly's decision sponsored by CARICOM to convene a high-level meeting next year on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, saying he also looked forward to the organization's participation in the high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight social development and poverty reduction targets which States have pledged to make efforts to achieve by 2015. The meeting will be held in the UN Headquarters in New York in September.
“Governments must agree in September on a concrete action plan that provides a clear road map to meet our collective targets and promise by 2015,” Mr. Ban said.
Expressing concern over organized transnational crime and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, Mr. Ban said that CARICOM and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have developed a joint action plan to combat the problem.
“We must address security issues and social causes simultaneously. In this regard, I welcome the fact that the recently launched Caribbean Basin Security Initiative goes beyond traditional law enforcement approach, and I applaud CARICOM States on all your efforts to combat illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
“It is important to consider the problem of drug control and the prevention of crime and terrorism in a regional context – and through the prism of development, human rights, the rule of law and security reform,” Mr. Ban said.
The Secretary-General commended CARICOM Member States for their leadership in the Copenhagen climate talks, saying the Caribbean community had conveyed an important message to the world – the threat of climate change is urgent and growing.
“You have been pioneers in calling attention to the specific vulnerability of Small Island States to climate change. Adaptation strategies to this very real threat will require sizeable and sustained investment,” Mr. Ban said.
The Copenhagen conference called on the international community to mobilize $30 billion a year between now and 2012 and $100 billion a year up to 2020 for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.
Mr. Ban said the UN will continue to support the efforts of nations in the Caribbean region to improve the lives of their people.
“Just as you are helping to advance our agenda, I would like to reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to your goals and aspirations. You can count on me to promote security, development and human rights. I take strength from the immortal wisdom of a great son of Jamaica. I will 'get up.' I will 'stand up.' And I won't 'give up the fight,” Mr. Ban said.
CARICOM Member States are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
Associate members are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.