Sustainable development, climate change and security challenges were among the shared concerns highlighted during a two-day meeting between the United Nations system and the regional grouping known as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which wrapped up today in New York.
The Seventh General Meeting between the two organizations brought together participants from over 30 UN departments, funds and programmes, as well as representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions.
The meeting, organized by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), aimed to reinforce the existing partnership and improve cooperation between the UN and CARICOM. It comes as the regional body marks its 40th anniversary this year, and ahead of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, which will be presided over by Ambassador John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda.
“Through the years, CARICOM has demonstrated the strength of a united voice and a common vision in shaping the future of the region,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the opening session yesterday, praising the organization for its leadership on key issues.
He added that “the concerns of the Caribbean are the concerns of the United Nations,” noting common challenges such as the need to address climate change, tackle transnational organized crime and assist Haiti in its reconstruction efforts.
The Secretary-General of CARICOM, Irwin LaRocque, stated that the meeting was an excellent opportunity for regional and international technical experts to exchange views and identify concrete projects that would yield results on the ground and ensure tangible benefits to citizens of the Caribbean Community.
Addressing the closing session today, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson expressed confidence that the Caribbean would play an influential role in shaping the ‘post-2015’ agenda – the global development framework beyond 2015, the deadline for achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
CARICOM is a key partner in achieving the common goals of development, peace and security and human rights, he added, as he saluted the body’s strong commitment to regional integration, cooperation and to multilateralism.
The meeting was co-chaired by Martha Doggett, Chief of DPA’s Americas Division, and Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary General, Foreign and Community Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat.