Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to help Caribbean countries tackle some of the most pressing issues in the region, including climate change, organized crime and debt.
“I attach great importance to regional cooperation among States and between regional organizations and the United Nations,” Mr. Ban told the heads of Government of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“CARICOM and the United Nations are good partners. I am committed to ensuring that our cooperation – both with the CARICOM Secretariat and with Member States – is more targeted and more responsive to the needs of the region.”
Mr. Ban said he would continue to call on members of the Group of Eight (G8) and the Group of 20 (G20) to fulfil their pledges to maintain international aid, to help Caribbean countries whose growth has been weakened by high levels of debt and barriers to trade.
The Secretary-General also underlined that climate change is an urgent challenge that is having a “disproportionate impact” on the Caribbean, and praised the region’s leadership during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June.
“Your efforts helped to produce a far-reaching outcome document with concrete deliverables. I will look to you to continue that dynamic engagement as we move toward establishing a set of Sustainable Development Goals and outline a post-2015 development agenda,” he said.
Transnational organized crime is also a growing threat with devastating impacts on women and youth and with the potential to undermine development and stability, Mr. Ban said. He underscored that the region must continue to work with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to implement a regional strategy, including the possibility of re-establishing a small permanent office in the Caribbean to address this problem.
Mr. Ban thanked CARICOM members for their support to Haiti, which is set to assume the chairmanship of the organization in January and encouraged them to maintain their commitment to the country’s recovery and well-being.
“Thank you again for your support at this challenging time for the region and the world. I look forward to working with you to achieve our common goals of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights for all.”
In a separate meeting with the leaders of CARICOM’s Member States, Mr. Ban discussed the global financial crisis, climate change, education, non-communicable diseases and sustainable development. CARICOM leaders also reiterated their interest in increased UN engagement in the region.