Press release 176/2014
(04 July 2014)

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRTY-FIFTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, 1-4 JULY 2014, DICKENSON BAY, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

 

The Thirty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Dickenson Bay, Antigua and Barbuda, from 1-4 July 2014. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne, chaired the proceedings.

Other members of the Conference in attendance were: the Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Rt. Honourable Perry G. Christie; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the  Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell; the President of the Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Donald Ramotar; the President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller; the Premier of Montserrat,  Honourable Reuben Meade; the Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Rt. Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas; the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia,  Dr. the Honourable Kenny D. Anthony; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves; and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Suriname was represented by the Vice President His Excellency Robert Ameerali, while Belize was represented by the Honourable Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Associate Members in attendance were: Honourable Alden M. McLaughlin, Jr, Premier of Cayman Islands; Honourable Jerome Roberts, acting Chief Minister of Anguilla; Honourable Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs of Bermuda; and Honourable Ricardo Don Hue Gardiner, Minister of Border Control and Labour of Turks and Caicos Islands.

OPENING CEREMONY

The Opening Ceremony was held on the afternoon of 1 July at the Sandals Grande Hotel, Dickenson Bay.  It was addressed by: the Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne; the immediate past Chair, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves; and Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque.

During the Ceremony, Ms. Marion Bethel of The Bahamas was bestowed with the Eleventh CARICOM Triennial Award for Women.

The official CARICOM Song was played for the first time and the composer, Ms. Michele Henderson of Dominica, received her prize and performed the piece.

Heads of Government paid tribute to the former President of Haiti, His Excellency Leslie Manigat, who passed away just prior to the Meeting of the Conference.

All the statements struck a chord of strengthening the integration process and emphasising that the Community’s strength was in its collective action.

In his address, the Secretary-General alluded to the severe economic conditions being experienced by most Member States but assured that the spirit of unity which prevailed within the Community was ensuring that there would be a collective response.

“It is in recognition of the need to find a regional resolution to the regional problem that our Heads of Government mandated that we prepare a Strategic Plan, which seeks to reposition the Community and which will inform the institutional mechanisms to carry it forward,” the Secretary-General said.

The immediate past Chair gave an overview of his tenure and indicated some of the highlights, emphasising that CARICOM’s accomplishments must not be forgotten as they ‘constitute a part of the permanent landscape of our Region’s political economy.’

Prime Minister Gonsalves outlined some of the main issues to be addressed at the Meeting, placing them in the context of the difficulties with which the people of the Region are contending. He urged understanding of the situation by all and encouraged civil society, including businesses and trade unions, to appreciate the continuing difficulties and act responsibly.

Prime Minister Gonsalves observed that “a concerted regional approach is required to improve our economies, create wealth and jobs, and manage much better our fiscal and debt condition, and strengthen the social safety net for those who are disadvantaged”.

The Chairman in welcoming all to Dickenson Bay, recalled that it was there in 1965, that the leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana signed the CARIFTA accord “that reignited the flame of regional integration from the embers of the West Indies Federation.”

Prime Minister Browne said this was the time to set aside the “illusion of national salvation entirely by national effort.”

“National efforts are crucial in all sectors of our economy and in every aspect of our societies, but such efforts should not discount or disdain regional collaboration,” he added.

The Prime Minister stated his commitment to ensure that his country would do what is necessary to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom with the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.

 

 

 

MONTSERRAT

Heads of Government welcomed the announcement of the Hon. Reuben Meade, Premier of Montserrat, that Montserrat intends to accede to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by the next meeting of the Conference, paving the way for its full participation in the Community and particularly the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Heads of Government noted that Montserrat, which has been a Member of the Community since 17 April 1974 when it became a party to the original Treaty of Chaguaramas, has been progressively making steps towards accession to the Revised Treaty, including obtaining the necessary instrument of entrustment from the United Kingdom.

Heads of Government also noted that Montserrat will be engaging with the CARICOM Secretariat and relevant CARICOM Institutions and the Caribbean Court of Justice in preparation for the deposit of its Instrument of Accession at the Twenty-Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference, to be held in February 2015 in The Bahamas.

DOMINICA’S ACCESSION TO THE APPELLATE JURISDICTION OF THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE (CCJ)

Heads of Government welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of Dominica that Dominica’s Parliament has approved a Bill to make the Caribbean Court of Justice the country’s final court of appeal. The Prime Minister advised the Meeting that the move away from the Privy Council would be completed, once the President assents to the Act, bringing it into force. Dominica will join Barbados, Guyana and Belize, as the fourth CARICOM Member country to give effect to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.

STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY 2015-2019

Heads of Government approved the Draft Strategic Plan for the Community. The Strategic Plan identifies eight integrated Strategic Priorities for the Community over the five-year period, 2015-2019, and key areas of interventions for each.  The integrated Strategic Priorities are:  Building Economic Resilience; Social Resilience; Environmental Resilience; Technological Resilience; Strengthening the CARICOM Identity and Spirit of Community; and Strengthening Community Governance along with Coordinated Foreign Policy, and Research and Development and Innovation.
The Plan is the product of widespread consultations in the Community and Heads of Government selected a narrow range of priorities to be accorded top priority attention over the next five-year period and the arrangements to be put in place across the Region to enable implementation taking into account the resource limitations, both human and financial, across the implementing agents.

Priority areas of focus identified were:

  1. Accelerate implementation and use of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME);

 

  1. Introduce Measures for Macro-economic Stabilisation;
  1. Build competitiveness and Unleash Key Economic Drivers to Transition to Growth and Generate Employment;

 

  1. Human Capital Development;
  1. Advance Health and Wellness;

 

  1. Enhance Citizen Security and Justice;
  1. Climate Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Mitigation and Management;

 

  1. Develop the Single ICT Space;
  1. Deepen Foreign Policy Coordination (to support strategic repositioning of CARICOM and desired outcomes);

 

  1. Public Education, Public Information and Advocacy;

xi.        Reform of the CARICOM Secretariat, the Organs, Bodies, Institutions and Governance Arrangements.

Heads of Government noted that the Plan represented a good strategic repositioning for the Community, as it sought to secure its future in a rapidly changing environment.  It was agreed that for success, the Plan would require commitment and focused implementation by all the major actors in the Community – the Member States, the Organs and Bodies, the Secretariat and the Community Institutions.

THE COMMISSION ON THE ECONOMY

Heads of Government welcomed the Second Report of the Commission on the Economy which focussed on the reform of the business operating environment in Member States and a Work-Plan for advancing the decisions that had been made by Heads of Government in respect of the Community’s Growth Agenda.  The Report also highlighted the importance of a stable macroeconomic environment as the springboard for the Community’s Growth Agenda. 

Heads of Government therefore reviewed the Work-Plan and agreed on the formulation of a regional fiscal sustainability framework within 6 months and the design of a regional debt management mechanism.  They also agreed to appoint a CARICOM Debt Advocacy Team to advocate on behalf of Member States with Development Partners on appropriate debt relief and/or debt amelioration arrangements for the highly indebted CARICOM States.  This initiative recognises that growing out of the current burdensome debt is not realistic for certain Member States given their structural and other economic vulnerabilities.

Heads of Government considered the reform of the Doing Business Environment in the Community of major importance and as such agreed to the execution of a regional project to improve the Doing Business Indicators in accord with international best practices.

In recognition that access to development resources were proving a binding constraint to catalysing growth in Member States, Heads of Government agreed to pursue a resource mobilization strategy based on approaches to non-traditional sources of financing and to promote public private partnerships for the development of the economic infrastructure  with technical advice from the IDB, CDB and World Bank.  Additionally, Heads of Government has mandated the Commission to address the regulatory framework required to promote venture capital and other new financial products as well as innovative financing schemes which could support the Growth Agenda including the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the Community.

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

Heads of Government approved the terms of reference of a CARICOM Commission on Human Resource Development whose main objective is to develop a Regional Education and Human Resource Development (HRD) 2030 Strategy and an implementable Action Plan and roadmap that would form the basis for action by Member States. It would also create a framework for the CARICOM Education Agenda.

The Commission which will begin its work in November 2014, will undertake a comprehensive high level and empirical review of education and human resource development in the Caribbean Community aligned to 21st Century competencies, competitiveness and sustainability.

SIDS, CLIMATE CHANGE AND POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDAS

Heads of Government received the first report of the CARICOM Task Force on Sustainable Development.

They accepted the need for effective CARICOM engagement in the on-going processes leading up to the Third International Meeting on SIDS, the UNFCCC Climate Change Conferences and discussions on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Heads of Government noted the need to ensure that the Region’s development priorities and concerns find ample expression in the final decisions and outcome documents of these conferences and meetings.

Heads of Government committed to ensuring the highest level of representation of Member States at the Third International Meeting on Small Island Developing States in Samoa and the UN Secretary-General’s Summit on Climate Change at the UN Headquarters, New York, in September.

Heads of Government recognised the need to highlight the issues confronting SIDS and to draw greater world-wide attention to the sustainable development challenges facing Caribbean SIDS. In that regard they agreed to explore the appointment of a special envoy on climate financing to take optimum advantage of available resources.

Heads of Government endorsed the CARICOM Declaration on the International Development Agenda Post 2015 which is attached to this communique and highlights the major priorities and concerns of the Region.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

Heads of Government reiterated the importance of Information and Communications Technology to the growth and development of the Community. They noted its importance as an enabler for other sectors and as a critical sector in its own right to spur innovation and entrepreneurship.

commission on marijuana  

Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users.

REPARATIONS FOR NATIVE GENOCIDE AND SLAVERY

Heads of Government adopted a Regional Strategic and Operational Plan for a Caribbean Reparatory Justice Programme (CRJP), presented by the Regional Reparations Commission, as a basis for further action.

Heads of Government agreed to despatch a Draft Notice of Complaint under cover of a letter from the Chair of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee (PMSC) on Reparations, the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, to the relevant European Governments with a request that a Conference be held on the issue. Such a Conference is proposed to be convened by the end of 2014 or early in 2015.

Heads of Government agreed to advance the Reparations case during the sitting of the UN General Assembly in 2014 through their statements and other diplomatic forms of engagement.

They also agreed to convene the Second Regional Conference on Reparations in September 2014 to increase public dialogue and civil society engagement as well as an Academic Conference in late 2014 as a collaborative effort between Caribbean Universities and the University of Essex, where expert opinions and scientific evidence would be presented as a strategic intervention to reach the regional, European and international public.

 

 

DRAFT PROTOCOL RECOGNISING THE OECS ECONOMIC UNION IN THE CONTEXT OF THE REVISED TREATY OF CHAGUARAMAS

Heads of Government received an update on the negotiation of a Draft Protocol to the Revised Treaty to recognise the OECS Economic Union, and considered in detail the policy issues and principles to be addressed. They reiterated the principle that the OECS members of CARICOM could pursue integration at a faster rate than the rest of the Community and agreed that the Draft Protocol would include a specific carve out for free movement of people and free circulation of goods among OECS Members of CARICOM.

To this end, Heads of Government agreed to establish a sub-committee of the Conference comprising the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Prime Minister of Barbados and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jamaica, which would be convened shortly to settle any outstanding issues and give appropriate direction to facilitate the conclusion of the Draft Protocol and its adoption by the Conference at the earliest opportunity.

CARICOM-CANADA TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

Heads of Government welcomed the progress made towards a CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement which has led to the successful conclusion of negotiations in several areas.

They acknowledged the flexibility shown by both sides in their desire to conclude an Agreement. At the same time, they recognised that there were some outstanding issues which remained to be finalised.

Heads of Government expressed confidence that with further engagement, including at the highest levels, and flexibility on outstanding issues, the completion of a balanced and mutually beneficial agreement could be achieved within an acceptable timeframe.

Heads of Government looked forward to positive responses from the Government of Canada, an important, longstanding and trusted development partner of the Caribbean Community.

OPTIONS FOR SHARING DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION

Heads of Government took into account the rapidly evolving global environment and the challenges it posed to the diplomatic representation of small states with limited resources. In this regard, they discussed the mechanism of joint or shared diplomatic representation which they viewed as a cost-effective and practical means of ensuring CARICOM representation in strategic locations where Member States are not presently represented. They agreed that the resuscitation of this mechanism was long overdue and requested a detailed study recommending strategic locations.

 

 

CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMME

Heads of Government received a report from the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis on his Citizenship by Investment Programme and issued a statement which is attached.

DISABILITIES

Heads of Government received a report from His Excellency Michel Martelly, the President of Haiti, with respect to the Outcome of the High Level Meeting on Disabilities held in Haiti in December 2013. They commended President Martelly for his work in this important aspect of social responsibility. Heads of Government committed to addressing the actions outlined in the Declaration of Petion Ville “Building a Disability – Inclusive Society for All’ emanating from the Meeting.

PAN-CARIBBEAN PARTNERSHIP AGAINST HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) JUSTICE FOR ALL ROADMAP

Heads of Government received a report on the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) Justice for All Roadmap, a key deliverable of its Justice for All Programme, from the Rt. Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, in his capacity as CARICOM Lead Head of Government for Human Resource Development, Health and HIV and AIDS in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet. 

Heads of Government reaffirmed their support for efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination in the context of HIV/AIDS, an action that has been identified as necessary to effectively combat the spread of HIV.

Heads of Government reviewed the Declaration entitled Getting to Zero Discrimination Through Justice For All and agreed to defer full consideration pending consultations at the national level.

CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

Heads of Government recognised that this year marked the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on The Rights of the Child signed by all CARICOM Member States.

Heads of Government received and supported the submission of the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr the Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell bringing to its attention the Call to Action to end the institutionalisation of children under the age of three years on state-run and private homes and accelerate their integration into the family.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NATURALISATION LAWS

Heads of Government maintained the principled position of the Community on the September 2013 ruling on nationality of the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic and reaffirmed that the ruling, which stripped nationality from tens of thousands of Dominicans, disproportionately affecting Dominicans of Haitian descent, was abhorrent and discriminatory and therefore unacceptable. 

They took note of Law Nr. 169-14 which establishes a special regime for people born on national territory and registered irregularly in the Dominican Republic Civil Registry and on Naturalisation which was promulgated on 23 May 2014. They expressed disappointment and concern with the Law which they viewed as far from satisfactory. It did not go far enough in addressing the grave human right effects of the ruling on nationality, as it restored nationality to only a very limited number of the persons affected but left an overwhelming majority stateless. They noted with deep concern that despite the Law creating a special regime, Dominicans previously registered in the Civil Registry were being denied the restoration of their stripped nationality.

Heads of Government highlighted that the Dominicans of Haitian descent deserved the support of the Caribbean Community as they looked to the Community to amplify their unheard voices on the abrogation of their human rights.

Heads of Government reiterated that it would not be business as usual in the Community's relationship with the Dominican Republic and that they would maintain their pressure in all fora on the continuing challenges to the human rights of the Dominicans of Haitian descent, including obtaining an advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. 

LEGAL EDUCATION

Heads of Government discussed legal education in the Community following its consideration of the matter of access by Guyanese students to the Hugh Wooding Law School.  They welcomed the commitment for accommodation of the top twenty-five Guyanese graduates of the University of Guyana at the Hugh Wooding Law School for the academic year 2014/2015 following discussions between the then Chair of CARICOM and the Chair of the Council of Legal Education.

However, Heads of Government acknowledged that this was a short term solution to the issue which also affected other CARICOM Nationals, in particular Belizean students, who have graduated from the University of Guyana and institutions in the Community other than the University of the West Indies.

Heads of Government recognised the need for urgent review of legal education in the Community to address, among other things, the role and function of the Council of Legal Education, provision of adequate and fair access to legal education and the legal profession, and the quality and appropriateness of the current legal education programmes.

Member States expressed commitment to work with the Council of Legal Education on these issues, taking note of the fact that the Council and the system of legal education in the Community was established by an Agreement among Heads of Government in 1972, and amendments would be required to give effect to the findings and recommendations of the review.

 

BORDER ISSUES

            Belize-Guatemala

Heads of Government received an update on relations between Belize and Guatemala and expressed support for the Road Map signed on 24 January 2014 by both countries and by the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), as witness. The Roadmap aims at strengthening bilateral relations conducive to setting a new date to hold successful referendums in both countries in accordance with the Special Agreement Between Belize and Guatemala to Submit Guatemala's Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim to the International Court of Justice of 2008. They called on the international community to support the efforts of both countries and the OAS in this endeavour and reiterated their support for both countries in their abiding commitment to the Special Agreement.

Heads of Government expressed their continued support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize.
Guyana-Venezuela

Heads of Government reiterated their firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana and for the unhindered economic and social development of all of Guyana.  They expressed their hope for an early resolution of the controversy which arose as a result of Venezuela’s contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899, which definitively settled the boundary between the two countries, is null and void.

Heads of Government also expressed their concern over the lack of progress towards the consideration of options, within the context of international law, in delimiting the maritime boundary between Guyana and Venezuela as agreed by the Foreign Ministers following their meeting on 17 October 2014. They called upon the two sides to pursue the negotiations with greater expediency towards the conclusion of a maritime delimitation agreement.

EXCHANGE OF VIEWS WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

Regional Business Leaders

Heads of Government exchanged views with selected Leaders of Industry and Commerce in the Community to address the scope for the promotion of more private sector investment and public-private partnerships and the requisite business environment. The engagement was a tangible demonstration of the Heads of Government commitment to engaging a critical driver of economic growth in a mutually beneficial partnership towards the promotion of the Community’s Growth Agenda.

The dialogue was wide-ranging and covered issues such as the adoption of clear investment promotion policies which level the playing field for the domestic/regional and foreign investors; removing constraints which affect competitiveness; building digital bridges and mainstreaming ICT, creating capital-friendly economies through an improved harmonized regulatory framework and public private partnerships; and vigorously promoting the One Caribbean brand in every aspect of the CSME.  Business Leaders stressed the importance of Governments creating an enabling environment to unleash entrepreneurial energies and opportunities and encourage Pan Caribbean businesses.

Heads of Government affirmed their commitment to creating an enabling environment for private sector growth and development and encouraged business leaders to invest in critical growth sectors such as agriculture and energy as well as to give serious consideration to establishing a Caribbean Private Sector Investment Fund utilizing the excess liquidity in the financial sector.

In a frank and enthusiastic exchange, there was agreement that these discussions were a good start to a new relationship between Heads of Government and the business community.

Prime Minister of Spain

The Heads of Government exchanged views with the Prime Minister of Spain, Mr. Mariano Rajoy Brey as a Special Guest.  Spain is a country with considerable investment in the Region, particularly in tourism and energy.  Various Heads of Government took the opportunity to thank the Spanish Prime Minister for his country’s continuing partnership with their countries.  A Joint Statement issued after the Meeting is attached.

Foreign Minister of Cuba

Heads of Government received the Foreign Minister of Cuba, H.E. Bruno Rodriguez, as a Special Guest. He underlined Cuba's unfailing solidarity and partnership with the Caribbean Community and pointed out the need to strengthen complementarity. As Cuba developed its new economic model, the forthcoming Cuba-CARICOM Summit on 8 December 2014 was viewed as presenting an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen economic relations.  He also conveyed Cuba's appreciation for the solidarity displayed by the Community in reaction to the many hostile acts harmful to its economic development such as the US embargo and the extraterritorial application of US laws as well as the CFATF grey listing of the country.

Heads of Government condemned these hostile acts and rejected as unfounded and without merit the placing of Cuba, a victim of terrorism, including in Community waters, and which works internationally to fight terrorism, on the US list of sponsors of terrorism.

Heads of Government reiterated their solidarity with Cuba, a member of the Caribbean family in good standing and in which all Member States have now established diplomatic missions.  They expressed their appreciation for the technical assistance and cooperation provided by Cuba in a variety of areas including capacity building, education and health, and looked forward to the coming Summit.

 

 

Candidatures

Heads of Government agreed that they would put forward a candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. The candidate will be announced shortly.

Law of the Sea

Heads of Government noted the 20th Anniversary of the entry into force of Convention on the Law of the Sea. They also took note of the invitation by Jamaica to attend activities marking this important event at the Secretariat’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica through July and August.

ACP Summit

Heads of Government acknowledged the invitation by the Government of Suriname to participate in the 8th Summit of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to be held in Paramaribo, Suriname, on the 6-7 November 2014.

CARIFESTA

Heads of Government accepted the offer of the Government of Barbados to host the Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA) XIII in 2017. They looked forward to CARIFESTA XII to be held in Haiti in 2015.

Signings

The Protocol to Amend Article 83 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas Establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, which was adopted by the Conference at its Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting, received additional signatures from Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia.

Guyana also signed the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network Agency (CKLNA) and the Amendment to the Agreement Establishing the CKLNA.

Montserrat signed the Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Protocol on Provisional Application of the Agreement Establishing CROSQ.

Appreciation

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation to the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda for their generous hospitality and excellent arrangements as hosts of the series of Meetings.

 

 

CARICOM Declaration on the International Development Agenda Post 2015

Reaffirming that Human and Social Development has been established as the first pillar of the Caribbean Community.

Conscious of the collective actions which have in the past fuelled regional integration, the goal of which is to enhance the well-being of the citizens of our countries.

Recalling the major inter-sectoral programmes undertaken by the Ministerial Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and the Ministerial Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which coordinates on-going national efforts to address the social, economic and environmental  challenges of its people.

Cognisant of the on-going global processes, particularly those set out in the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) to elaborate a post 2015 development agenda with a renewed commitment to an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and the mainstreaming of sustainable development at all levels.

Recalling the outcome document of the Special Event to Follow up Efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the renewed commitment to intensify all efforts to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and the determination “to craft a strong post 2015 development agenda that will build on the foundations laid by the Millennium Development Goals, complete the unfinished business and respond to new challenges”.

Recalling also the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation, in which the international community recognised the unique and particular challenges and needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and committed to the success of the Third International Conference on SIDS to take place in Apia, Samoa.

Fully aware of the opportunities and challenges for CARICOM Member States in the context of the elaboration and implementation of a post 2015 development agenda and of efforts to deepen and accelerate regional integration in pursuit of sustainable development.

We declare:

•         that the international development agenda must be inter-governmentally determined and agreed;

•         that the eradication of poverty must remain the core objective and overarching preoccupation of the international development agenda;

•         that the development agenda must be premised on promoting the welfare and well-being of all people;

•         that the development agenda should promote and mainstream sustainable development and the balanced integration of its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental - at all levels;

•         that the unique and particular vulnerabilities and challenges of small island developing states (SIDS) must remain a priority in the development agenda;

•         that the development agenda should build on the lessons of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) toward a single comprehensive and integrated agenda that is responsive to the diverse development realities with which individual countries and regions are confronted;

•         that the persistent and emerging challenges of climate change, energy security, water security, sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition, employment, economic growth and diversification, debt sustainability, health (addressing both communicable and non-communicable diseases), gender equality and the empowerment of women, challenges facing youth and children, crime and security, and governance  should be featured in the development agenda in order to address these and other critical  challenges that constrain the development prospects and performance of CARICOM Member States;

•         that the development agenda should incorporate broader measures of progress to complement Gross Domestic Product, as GDP alone is an inadequate measure of the state of development in many economies; we encourage on-going efforts to devise appropriate approaches and instruments to that end;

•         that emphasis must be placed on ensuring that definitive arrangements, including effective partnerships, are made to provide adequate financial and other resources, trade and market access, technology transfer and capacity building, particularly in the area of data collection and statistical analysis and improving resilience to the effects of climate change, to assist developing countries to implement the post 2015 development agenda;

•         that greater emphasis must be placed on  the development of monitoring, evaluation and accountability frameworks to guarantee the implementation of commitments made by all actors;

•         that the fostering of a comprehensive global policy environment more conducive to the achievement of development objectives is an absolute imperative. Greater coherence across the trade, finance, environment and social policies is essential in this regard. Decisive progress in the Doha Development Round, the democratisation of global economic governance, and ambitious action on climate change are important requirements in the creation of such an environment;

•         that institutional arrangements should foster and complement the effective implementation of the development agenda and efforts should be pursued to ensure their coherence through appropriate reform and strengthening;

•         that all relevant stakeholders, such as governments, civil society, the private sector, and intergovernmental organisations, must be included in the process of determining and advancing the post 2015 development agenda to ensure more dynamic partnerships at all levels.

 

 

 

 

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY AND SPAIN, ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, 2 JULY 2014

At the Thirty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), CARICOM Heads of Government were pleased to receive The Most Excellent Mariano Rajoy Brey, Prime Minister of Spain, as a Special Guest.  Following very fruitful deliberations, the Heads of Government of CARICOM and of Spain agreed to issue the following Joint Statement:

We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community and Spain acknowledge with satisfaction the fifteen year milestone of the formalisation of relations between CARICOM and Spain which was inaugurated by the conclusion, in Trinidad and Tobago, in July 1999, of the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement, clearly reflecting both Parties' commitment to maintaining a strategic long-term partnership. 

We pledge to further strengthen the stable, friendly and strategic partnership between our countries which is based on the common values of respect for the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights, as well as the promotion of sustainable development.  We will ensure that these values as well as a fundamental recognition of the special circumstances and needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and of Small Highly Indebted Vulnerable Middle Income Countries (SHIVMICS) continue to underpin the political, economic, cultural and development relations that are the substance of our relationship.

Going forward we agree to give priority to:

(i)        Advancing the fight against poverty, the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, biodiversity and the environment in general;

(ii)       Working together to address the negative impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) including through the swift capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund.  CARICOM Member States thank Spain for its contributions to the development of SIDSnet and its major financial contribution to the organisation of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa in September 2014;

(iii)      Advocating for a multilateral rules-based system of international trade; one that includes special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies, and that facilitates their integration into the global economy;

(iv)      Ensuring that the specific needs and vulnerabilities of Middle Income Countries (MICS) are taken into account on the part of the different international and cooperation agencies, including the criteria for classification as MICS;

(v)       Working to achieve a satisfactory solution to issues that are especially sensitive for CARICOM countries, particularly the diversification of the EU's eligibility criteria for CARICOM Member States' access to the 11th  EDF Funds;

(vi)      Increasing commercial exchange and investment between our countries, particularly in the tourism industry and the energy sector, as a means of facilitating job creation and the economic development of the recipient countries; and

(vii)     Intensifying their cooperation to promote shared goals within the framework of multilateral fora. In this respect the Governments of the CARICOM Member States and of Spain welcome the degree of harmony they have achieved within the United Nations framework. Spain thanks the CARICOM Member States for studying the merits of Spain's candidacy to a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2015-2016.

We commend the work of the Third Meeting of the CARICOM-Spain Joint Commission held on 19 and 20 May 2014 in Georgetown, Guyana, which established the criteria for a more efficient Spanish Cooperation, with greater impact on the wellbeing of the region's peoples. We note the three priority areas for cooperation for the period 2014-2018 agreed by the Commission, namely Economic Growth, Security and Development and Democratic Governance.

CARICOM welcomes Spain's having organized a High-Level Seminar on Tourism for CARICOM countries in Madrid between 11 and 15 June 2014. Aware of the growing importance of sustainable tourism, and the large amount of experience accumulated by Spain and the CARICOM Member States in this field, both Parties shall continue to share their mutual experience to develop this sector to the fullest.

CARICOM Heads of Government welcome the increase in the amount contained in the CARICOM-Spain Joint Fund as yet another indication of Spain's commitment to advancing cooperation with CARICOM States.

We express our satisfaction with the institutionalised dialogue between us that has culminated in four Summits to date, and agree to convene the Fifth CARICOM Spain Summit in the Caribbean Region.

STATEMENT ON CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMME

Heads of Government received a report from the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis with respect to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) undertaken by his country.

They commended St Kitts and Nevis for its recent economic performance while acknowledging the importance of such programmes in improving the fiscal position of some Member States at a time of acute economic and financial stress thereby assisting in maintaining their development efforts.

Heads of Government emphasised their strong support for the efforts of St Kitts and Nevis to enhance its regulatory regime in relation to its CIP, fully cognisant of the need to adhere to the most rigorous international standards to safeguard the integrity of the country and the Programme.

Heads of Government urged all countries engaging in such a programme to co-operate and co-ordinate their regulatory systems with respect to both the CIP and to financial services generally given the imperative of enhancing the security of the Region while ensuring the protection and expansion of their revenue base.

Heads of Government further commended the Government of St Kitts and Nevis for its on-going work in strengthening the legal, regulatory and administrative framework governing the CIP to ensure that it exceeds international standards.

CONTACT: piu@caricom.org; caricompublicinfo@gmail.com


 
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