COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRTIETH REGULAR MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, 2-5 JULY 2009, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA
Posted in: Communiques | 04 July 2009 | Release Ref #: 270/2009 | 998
The Thirtieth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at the Guyana International Convention Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, Guyana from 2-5 July 2009. The President of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo presided.
Other members of the Conference in attendance were: the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Winston Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, The Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. David J. H. Thompson; the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding; the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Stephenson King; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; the President of Suriname, His Excellency Drs. Runaldo R. Venetiaan; and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Patrick Manning.
Hon. Alrich Nicolas, Minister of Foreign Affairs represented Haiti, Hon. John A. Osborne Minister of Education, Health and Community Services represented Montserrat, His Excellency Delano Bart, Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary represented the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Associate Members in attendance were: the Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hon. Osbourne B. Fleming; the Premier of Bermuda, Hon. Ewart Brown, and Hon. Mark Scotland, Minister of Health represented the Cayman Islands.
The Chairman of CARICOM, H.E. Bharrat Jagdeo, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon Baldwin Spencer; the Prime Minister of Belize, Hon Dean Barrow; the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon Tillman Thomas and the CARICOM Secretary-General H.E. Edwin Carrington addressed the Opening Ceremony.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, Chairman of the Community, in his address, enumerated the several socio-economic challenges being faced by the Community, the majority of which, he stated, were a result of the global financial crisis but also noted that the Region had made significant strides in its democratic process; its positive record of human rights; its model of peace and its unity of voice in critical matters, with particular reference to Climate Change.
He emphasized that there was a need for institutional strengthening since there was “no alternative to integration” and urged the Community to consider the European Union which continued to pursue higher forms of integration. President Jagdeo called on his colleague Heads of Government to preserve the popular faith in the cause of the integration movement, pointing out that the goals of the Community were more relevant now than in 1973, when the Treaty was signed.
Prime Minister Thomas, stated that the Community had weathered the global financial storm and had responded positively to the challenges, especially in areas such as democracy and governance, building human capital and capacity; Information and Communication Technologies and knowledge improvement. He added however, that the response could be magnified if Community leaders adhered to the spirit of the Grand Anse Declaration which sought to deepen the integration process.
Prime Minister Barrow, immediate past Chairman of the Community, said the Community remained resilient in the face of the global recession, and its leaders were unanimous in their determination to stay the course. He outlined several achievements of the Community, including the critical role it played in the recently concluded United Nations Conference on the Global Financial Crisis; its advocacy for Cuba’s re-integration into the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the hosting of the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
Prime Minister Spencer noted that the challenges of the Community were great but not insurmountable and re-affirmed his government’s unswerving commitment to the principles of the integration movement.
In his statement, the Secretary-General emphasised the importance of the ensuing three-day deliberations, noting that the outcomes must lead to a reinvigoration of the integration process and to a renewal of the commitment to the building of a Community For All. To achieve that goal, the Secretary-General declared, the debate must lead to a rekindling of the spirit of hope and expectation among the people of the Community and thereby to their re-engagement in the construction of our Community.
Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC)
Mr. Percival J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, was invested with the Community’s highest honour, the Order of the Caribbean Community. In presenting the award, the Community heralded him as the doyen of regional development and cooperation who was instrumental in the completion of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that forms the legal basis of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. In accepting the honour, Mr Patterson acknowledged that he was an incurable regionalist and encouraged the Heads of Government to nurture the Community.
Listing notable achievements of the Community, Mr Patterson said those positives were not intended to suggest that all was well but to encourage Heads of Government on the journey to realising the mission of improving the quality of life for the people of the Caribbean.
Annual CARICOM 10K Road Race
Presentations were also made to the winners of the Fifth CARICOM 10K Road Race which was staged on Sunday 28 June 2009 in Georgetown. President Jagdeo presented the CARICOM Chairman’s Trophy to Guyana’s Cleveland Forde, while Secretary-General Carrington presented the CARICOM Secretary-General’s Trophy to the Hon Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago who accepted on behalf of Ms Shermin Lasaldo.
Messages were received from the Leader of Government Business in the Cayman Islands (which is attached) and from the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The Global Economic and Financial Crisis: Regional Impact and Response
Heads of Government considered the effects of the global economic and financial crisis on the Community and established a Task Force led by the President of Guyana and including four other members of the Conference - CARICOM Secretary-General; President of the Caribbean Development Bank; Director General of OECS and the Director of the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance to facilitate mobilisation of funds and present a core set of proposals for going forward. Heads of Government issued a Declaration on the Financial Sector which is attached.
Heads of Government also considered the impact of the global economic and financial crisis on the tourism sector and agreed that implementation of the Regional Marketing Programme was urgent.
Heads of Government agreed to pursue with the Government of the United States the establishment of more pre-clearance facilities in the Caribbean.
Heads of Government reiterated their deep concern with regard to the proposed Air Passenger Duty (APD) as it applies to travel from the UK to the Caribbean, as it would not only greatly increase the cost of travel from the UK to the Region but would also put the Caribbean at a disadvantage in relation to other more distant destinations. The Heads of Government agreed to continue pursuing vigorously the matter with UK policymakers in order to ensure that a more equitable band of the APD is applied to Caribbean travel.
Agriculture and Food Security
Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to providing financial and other support measures for agriculture. They underscored the importance of agriculture for food and nutrition security and for the development of our economies and issued a Declaration which is attached.
Heads of Government welcomed the staging of the Regional Symposium on Services which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda from 15-17 July 2009 and agreed that delegations to the Symposium from Member States should include ministerial and senior public sector officials.
Heads of Government looked forward to receiving the Draft Strategic Plan for Services and the Plan of Action for the next five years, which is to be considered by COTED and presented at the next Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference scheduled for Dominica in 2010.
Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)
Heads of Government agreed to mandate the Ministers with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies to lead the process in developing the long term strategy and plan of action for the ICT sector into 2020, which should be presented to the Conference at the next Inter-sessional Meeting.
Heads of Government reiterated their support for the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) and urged that steps be taken to establish it as an agency of the Community.
CARICOM Single Market and Economy
Heads of Government received the information on the audit of the CARICOM Single Market implementation and agreed to hold a convocation on the CSME involving all stakeholders, which would give full consideration to that Report.
Heads of Government commended Haiti for the actions taken to date in preparation for the commencement of trade in goods with other Member States from 1 January 2010.
Heads of Government agreed that Member States would immediately implement the entry procedures for right of establishment and temporary movement of service providers, particularly in light of the potential for increased extra-regional competition resulting from the implementation of the EPA and other agreements.
Free Movement of persons
Heads of Government re-affirmed the goal of free movement of persons as expressed in Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and that free movement is an essential element of the CSME but given the current global economic and financial crisis, its full implementation at this point in time will be challenging for some Member States;
They recognized, that notwithstanding challenges from time to time, the free movement of graduates, artistes, media workers, musicians, sportspersons, teachers, nurses, holders of associate degrees and artisans with a Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) has generally been implemented satisfactorily.
Heads of Government also re-affirmed that migration is a human right though circumscribed by national law.
Heads of Government further recognised that in the spirit of the Revised Treaty and the requisites of international law, all migrants should be accorded humane treatment.
Heads of Government agreed that the schedule of free movement of persons within the Single Market would be reviewed at the CSME Convocation to be convened in October, with a view to advising on the timetable for full free movement.
They also agreed that household domestics who have obtained a Caribbean Vocational Qualification or equivalent qualification will be allowed to move with effect from 1 January 2010.
Heads of Government further agreed on the importance of training and sensitising Immigration Officers on the implementation of the Region’s approach to free movement and hassle free travel.
Trade in Goods Heads
of Government agreed that there was urgent need to establish an effective regional regime of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. They mandated the COTED to advise on arrangements for the establishment of the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), while considering interim arrangements in respect of the functions to be fulfilled by the CAHFSA. They also welcomed and accepted the offer by Suriname to host the CAHFSA.
Heads of Government further agreed that Member States should extend to intra-regional imports of new food products treatment no less favourable than that extended to extra- regional imports of new food products, including risk assessments inspections.
HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Heads of Government re-affirmed their commitment to the Nassau Declaration on Health and Development. They agreed to support the new approach adopted for the roll out of the priorities of the Regional Health Strategy, Caribbean Cooperation in Health III. They urged speedy implementation of the identified projects and approved the donor forum to be convened later this year. Heads of Government also noted the progress towards the establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and thanked Trinidad and Tobago for its offer to host the Headquarters. They committed to support the activities related to the identified six super priorities of the 2007 fifteen point Declaration of Port of Spain on Chronic Non –Communicable Diseases and endorsed the theme for Caribbean Wellness Day 2009 – ‘Love that body’. The Conference also gave their commitment to robust support for national level celebration of CWD on Saturday, September 12.
Heads of Government considered the request of PANCAP for counterpart support from Member States for the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework (CRSF 2008-2013).
Heads of Government acknowledged the effectiveness of the response so far, including the new Cruise Ship Protocol. Whilst not all countries are yet affected, they expressed hope that the global efforts for low cost approaches, including an effective vaccine will bear early fruit.
Towards the Establishment of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
Heads of Government approved, in principle, the timetable for the implementation of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which would rationalise the regional public health sector, bringing five regional institutions under one governance structure and recorded their appreciation to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for agreeing to host the Headquarters of the CARPHA. They urged that the transition plan for phasing out the five Regional Health Institutions (RHIs) into CARPHA be carefully managed to minimise the dislocation to the public health functions currently being provided to the peoples of the Region.
Heads of Government agreed to convene a Special Summit on Youth in the final quarter of 2009 in Suriname, to discuss the findings and recommendations of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development, which was mandated by the 27th Meeting of the Conference to provide a full scale analysis of the challenges and opportunities for youth in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and to make recommendations on how to improve their well-being.
Crime and Security
Heads of Government agreed to re-activate the security facilities put in place for CWC2007 and the Fifth Summit of the Americas for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2009 and ICC World 20/20 Tournament to be held in the Caribbean in 2010. They also agreed to proposals for implementing the CARICOM Travel Pass (CARIPASS), the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and the programmes for the control of small arms and light weapons associated with violent crimes and gang violence.
Heads of Government discussed the pledge made by the President of the United States of America during the Summit of the Americas of US$30 million to support the joint development of a strategy of co-operation, mutually beneficial partnership and information sharing with the Caribbean and determined the way forward to engage the United States. They further agreed to the re-activation of the Resource Mobilisation Sub-Committee (RMC) to manage the US Assistance in the area of security and other offers of assistance.
Human Resource Development
Heads of Government expressed appreciation for the efforts being made by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in the areas of research for development, expansion of access, collaborative initiatives with national universities and community colleges to promote access and research, and gave their commitment to assist in identifying sources of support.
Heads of Government noted the progress of negotiations of a new global Climate Change Agreement leading to the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009, and agreed on the Region’s priorities, which include the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions; mitigation and adaptation; the transfer of technology; renewable energy; forest conservation and avoided deforestation.
Heads of Government endorsed the Caribbean Challenge in its efforts to protect the Region’s Marine Resources and in its work towards fulfilling the UNFCCC ecosystem-based management and adaptation recommendations, and implementing the Millennium Development Goals related to reducing biodiversity loss.
Heads of Government issued a Declaration on Climate Change which is attached.
Heads of Government reviewed the governance arrangements of the Community and expect to conclude their considerations on the basis of proposals to be advanced by the Secretary-General and the Task Force on Governance.
Turks and Caicos Islands’ Constitutional Issue
Heads of Government reviewed the situation in the Associate Member Turks and Caicos Island and agreed to issue the following Statement:
Statement on the situation in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI)
The Member States of the Caribbean Community reiterate their view that respect for the rule of law, representative democracy and integrity in public life are fundamental elements of good governance to which they all strongly adhere. Accordingly, they were deeply disturbed by the adverse findings of Turks and Caicos Commission of Inquiry into possible corruption or other dishonesty in relation to past and present elected members of the Legislature.
The Caribbean Community continues to hold fast to the view it expressed in its statement on the situation in the TCI on 24 March 2009 that suspending the Constitution of TCI and its democratic institutions and resorting to direct rule by the colonial power are not the most effective tools to bolster good governance and effective administration in the territory.
The Community therefore regrets that the intervening period was not used more profitably to find solutions that would avert the threatened constitutional and democratic dislocation. In this regard, the rejection by the governor of the proposal of the new Premier to allow the people of TCI to elect a new government which could have adopted and implemented the measures required to improve the administration of the territory and strengthen integrity in public life was, regrettably, a lost opportunity. The people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and their ability to govern themselves in the long run will benefit far more from strengthening their administrative and good governance processes through their own efforts than by the administrations through the governor under direct rule.
Guyana – Venezuela Relations
Heads of Government noted the impending consultations between Guyana and Venezuela on the identification of a candidate to perform the duties of a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General with respect to the Good Offices Process and underscored the critical importance of the Special Representative in assisting the Secretary-General in the search for a practical solution to the controversy which was initiated by the contention of Venezuela that the Arbitral Award of 1899, which settled the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, was null and void. Heads of Government reaffirmed their view that the post needed to be filled at the earliest possible time. Heads of Government re-affirmed their unequivocal support for the safeguarding of Guyana’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and its right to develop its resources in the entirety of its territory.
Heads of Government received a report on the status of relations between Belize and Guatemala. They expressed their satisfaction on the successful negotiation and signing of the Special Agreement by both Governments to refer the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice for final settlement, subject to the approval of their citizens in national referenda. In this context, Heads of Government called on the international community, particularly the “Group of Friends” to support and assist the process both politically and financially. Heads of Government emphasised the need to continue funding the operations of the Office of the Organization of American States located on the Adjacency Zone that has successfully supported the efforts of both governments in maintaining peace and security and in reducing tensions along the border communities in both countries. Heads of Government reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize.
Diplomatic Academy by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Heads of Government noted the decision of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to establish a diplomatic academy before the end of 2009 which would not only provide training and research but also serve as a think tank and in due course, be open to Member States.
External Trade Negotiations
Heads of Government, in keeping with their decision to incorporate the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) into the CARICOM Secretariat as a Specialised Department, agreed to redesignate the CRNM as the Office of Trade Negotiations. Heads of Government also appointed Ambassador Gail Mathurin of Jamaica as Director-General, in succession to Ambassador Mr. Henry Gill.
Heads of Government reviewed the status of implementation of the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and noted that some progress had been made by CARICOM signatory states in this regard.
They acknowledged that a number of important matters remain to be addressed as a consequence of provisional application of the Agreement from 29 December 2008. They reviewed measures to be taken in relation to the establishment of institutions to manage the Agreement, particularly those that would facilitate an early meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council and the Joint Trade and Development Committee.
Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to securing a Trade and Development Agreement with Canada, which would provide for specific measures to facilitate the Region’s structural transformation; assist in building export capacity and contribute to enhancing its competitiveness.
Heads of Government agreed that discussions with MERCOSUR later this year should focus on concluding arrangements for functional cooperation which would place the Region in a better position to engage MERCOSUR on closer trade relations in the near future. Heads of Government reaffirmed support for Trinidad and Tobago to pursue bilateral arrangements with the United States in relation to certain products of export interest to that Member State.
Heads of Government agreed to intensify efforts to persuade the European Union on the need for a smaller reduction of the MFN tariff for bananas and a longer transition period for its implementation. They also agreed to take concerted action at the highest political level of the European Union, consistent with other ACP banana exporting countries, to obtain a flexible, front-loaded and speedily disbursed financial package that fully takes into account the losses in export earnings and adjustment costs that will be incurred by banana exporting countries. Heads of Government underlined that a positive response by the EU in respect of both issues would be in keeping with the spirit of the Joint Declaration on Bananas annexed to the EPA.
Heads of Government acknowledged the importance of the conclusion of the Doha Development Round under the WTO and agreed that the Region would continue to monitor closely, developments with a view to safeguarding the gains already secured in the negotiations on behalf of small vulnerable economies and take a lead role in advancing the other issues of concern to this group of countries. They instructed Ministers to ensure that the Region is well prepared to participate in the WTO Ministerial Meeting whenever it is convened.
Exchange of views with Special Guests
Heads of Government exchanged views with the Commonwealth Secretary-General regarding the major themes for the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Trinidad and Tobago on 27- 29 November 2009 arising from his soundings with other Commonwealth leaders. Among those identified were responses to the global economic and financial crises, youth and Climate Change. The relevance of CHOGM on the latter issue was heightened by the fact that the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change (COP15) would take place a week later.
Heads of Government, in addition to the previous issues, expressed their concern regarding funding for development of middle income countries as well as to the constraining issue of debt.
The Heads of Government alluded to the issue of local governance - an area in which the Commonwealth Secretariat had been active. Heads of Government endorsed the strategy for approaching the International Financial Institutions and Multilateral Development Banks for resources to mitigate the effects of the global financial and economic crises on most Member States, as well as the limited fiscal policy space for counter cyclical activity, and agreed to follow–up with a demarche at the highest political and institutional levels. The importance of determining a new definition of partnership that will emphasise equity and sustainability in the new global circumstances of the 21st Century was also discussed.
Organisation of American States (OAS)
In the course of their meeting with the Secretary-General of the OAS, Heads of Government were informed of the latest developments on the ground and at the OAS with regard to the situation in Honduras. Heads of Government expressed their satisfaction with the response of the OAS which had reacted with alacrity to the overthrow of the President, a development which the Community had condemned.
Heads of Government expressed the hope that both Secretaries-General with whom they exchanged views would advocate on behalf of the special circumstances of the middle income countries of the Community, which are deeply affected by the global crisis.
Fifth Summit of the Americas
Heads of Government congratulated Trinidad and Tobago on its successful hosting of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, and further pledged their full support to that country’s hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). In noting the mandates and commitments for follow-up from the Fifth Summit, Heads of Government urged Member States to be vigilant in ensuring that the necessary mechanisms and resources were in place to facilitate the implementation of the commitments made in the Declaration.
CARICOM – US Relations
Heads of Government welcomed the opportunity that the upcoming Summit with the United States President would present for improving relations with that country. They considered the strategies and approaches for the Community in preparation for the Summit which is expected to be held later this year in Washington DC.
Third CARICOM – SICA Summit
Heads of Government considered the proposal for the Third CARICOM-SICA Summit and called on the Secretary-General to liaise with his SICA counterpart on the timing and agenda for that meeting.
Heads of Government agreed to the proposal by the President of Brazil, His Excellency Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on the convening of a CARICOM-Brazil Summit in Brazil, at the end of 2009 or early 2010. Further work will be undertaken on the content of the agenda.
Heads of Government, in accordance with established procedures for supporting CARICOM and non-CARICOM candidates, endorsed the recommendations of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) for the following candidacies:
• Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States - Ambassador Albert Ramdin.
• United Nations Security Council (WEOG) – Canada.
Candidacies received since the Twelfth Meeting of the COFCOR in May 2009 will be considered when that Council holds its informal consultations in September 2009.
Heads of Government also noted that the Post of the Assistant Secretary-General, Political Affairs and Human Development, Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States for the five year period ending 28 February 2015 had been allocated to the Caribbean.
DATE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST INTER-SESSIONAL MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE
In accordance with the Rotation Schedule for the Chairmanship of the Conference for the period January 2008 to December 2010, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, will assume the Chair of the Conference for the six-month period commencing 1 January 2010. It is anticipated, therefore, that the Twenty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference will be held on dates to be proposed by Dominica. The Inter-Sessional Meetings are customarily held during the first quarter of the year.
4 July 2009
We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at our Thirtieth Meeting in Liliendaal, Guyana, 2-5 July 2009, affirm our commitment to the principles and objectives of the Caribbean Community as embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;
Having experienced the negative fallout from the global financial and economic crisis, recognize the need to effect appropriate reform in our financial sector policy and the regional financial architecture;
We recognize that:
1. Enhancing national regulatory and supervisory systems, including rationalization and consolidation, is critical to ensuring safety, soundness and stability in the financial services sector.
2. Given the considerable degree of financial integration that exists in the Caribbean region as a result of both organic growth and mergers and acquisitions, intra industry cross-border supervision needs to be enhanced by the regional regulatory organizations – the Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG); the Caribbean Association of Insurance Regulators (CAIR); the Caribbean Group of Securities Regulators and the Regional Competition Commission.
3. The relatively high degree of financial integration requires regional solutions to financial problems. There is need for closer collaboration among the supervisory authorities in Caribbean jurisdictions whereby information can be shared regularly in order to address cross-border financial issues. In this regard we establish a College of Regulators.
4. Continued improvement in standards for disclosure, transparency and corporate governance for both public and private companies, is required for effective surveillance, regulation and supervision. It is important that, given the sensitive and cross-cutting nature of financial transactions, data and information be generated in a regular and timely manner.
5. Early warning systems, stress testing and the publication of financial soundness indicators are important for monitoring at the national and Regional levels in order to improve detection and assessment of threats to Regional financial stability. In this regard the Heads of Government fully support the initiatives of the Regional Central Banks through the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance (CCMF) and the Caribbean Group of Banking Supervisors (CGBS) as well as the Caribbean Association of Insurance Regulators (CAIR), and the Caribbean Group of Securities Regulators.
6. The Region is particularly vulnerable to exogenous shocks and we are committed to strengthening the capacity of existing Regional agencies and mechanisms (such as the Caribbean Development Bank, Petroleum Fund, and CARICOM Development Fund) to perform both a developmental and stabilization role. Support and financing will be sought for the Regional institutions from the International Financial Institutions and the Multilateral Development Banks.
7. International Financial Centres in the Caribbean (and elsewhere) have recently been under intense pressure. In this regard, the Caribbean continues to enhance transparency and strengthen regulation of its international financial sector. Equally we call for equitable treatment in accord with that granted to the developed countries and other preferential jurisdictions.
8. The central role of the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP) in ensuring coherence, coordination and harmonization in the development and integration of the regional financial system and in reporting on regulatory gaps and deficits. In this regard, we look forward to the finalisation of the CARICOM Financial Services Agreement (CFSA).
9. There is need to commit ourselves to a vigorous and intensive review of the workings of the regulatory and supervisory system.
4 July 2009
We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at our Thirtieth Meeting in Liliendaal, Guyana, 2-5 July, 2009, affirm our commitment to the principles and objectives of the Caribbean Community as embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy -
1. We recognize the multi-functional nature of agriculture as an important contributor to rural development, GDP, employment, export earnings and to the overall sustainable development of the Member States of the Caribbean Community;
2. Recognising that agriculture is of strategic significance for the sustainable development of our Region, we have identified the sector as one of the drivers of economic growth and poverty alleviation of the Community;
3. We acknowledge that the agriculture sector has faced overwhelming challenges in recent years;
4. We recognise that the further development of the agriculture sector as elaborated in the “Jagdeo Initiative”, including in particular, production and productivity, competitiveness and exports, is inhibited by key binding constraints including a reduction in development support and investment. We further recognize that financing for agriculture development is proving to be the major limitation which is affecting the speed and effectiveness of dealing with the other constraints;
5. In order for agriculture to continue to play a positive role in the Region’s economic and social development, there is need for a more concerted effort among all stakeholders in addressing the challenges facing the sector. Public sector/private sector partnership is essential. We are also aware that Governments must increase budgetary resources and implement other policy incentives to buttress the agriculture/agro-industry development agenda. It is also vital that the multilateral trading system take account of the special needs of small vulnerable economies in their quest to build and preserve their agricultural sectors;
6. We also recognize the critical role of the fisheries sector to the livelihood and well-being of the coastal communities and its value to the food security needs of our people. We also recognize the economic benefits that can be realized from the sector.
7. We further recognise that balanced development of rural areas and communities will ensure the retention of skills required to produce agri-products competitively and sustainably manage the natural diversity, thus ensuring the equitable distribution of income within the rural areas and between the rural and urban areas. We recognise as well that greater emphasis must be placed on the more vulnerable rural groups such as indigenous and other tribal peoples, youth and women to bring them into the economic mainstream;
8. The 2007/2008 Food Crisis highlighted the urgent need to maximize Regional agricultural production to meet our food security and nutrition needs, address poverty alleviation as well as income and employment generation and ultimately our need to ensure that agriculture be recognised as a real generator of wealth. We recognize the need for a more coordinated framework in developing and implementing appropriate policies, programmes and incentives in support of the sector’s development agenda;
9. In that regard we welcome the decision by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to convene a World Summit on Food Security in November 2009 and look forward to participating fully and effectively in the Conference; and
10. We further recognise the importance of effective agriculture health and food safety systems and sanitary and phytosanitary measures to our food and nutrition security.
We, the Heads of Governments of the Caribbean Community therefore renew our commitment to pursue a strategic approach to transforming the agriculture sector into an internationally competitive sector with increased capacity to contribute to the sustained economic development of the Region, the economic livelihood of entrepreneurs, the rural sector and to food and nutrition security -
1. To this end, we are committed to the provision of the necessary financial and other resources to ensure internationally competitive, market led production, and the identification and effective employment of the appropriate policies and strategies which will bring about the desired improvements to the sector including the agri-business sector. We call on our development partners to assist us in our efforts;
2. We reaffirm our commitment to remove the following key binding constraints, identified in the Jagdeo Initiative, to the development of the agriculture sector and food and nutrition security including-
(i) Limited financing and inadequate levels of new investments;
(ii) Deficient and uncoordinated risk management measures;
(iii) Inadequate research and development;
(iv) Outdated and inefficient agricultural health and food safety (AHFS) systems;
(v) Weak land and water distribution and management systems;
(vi) Inadequate transportation systems, particularly for perishables;
(vii) Weak and non-integrated market information and intelligence systems and
(a) Weak linkages and participation of producers in growth market segments;
(viii) Lack of skilled and quality human resources;
3. We also recognize the challenge posed to small famers by the lack of adequate equipment.
4. We affirm that the production of energy and biofuels from biomass must be increased in a sustainable manner so as to provide for our energy, economic, environmental and agricultural needs and does not compromise food security;
5. We commit ourselves to provide farmers with adequate mechanisms to manage risks and market crises, and to establish early warning systems to anticipate disasters such as floods and hurricanes.
6. We commit ourselves to strive against unfair competition and agricultural trade distortions providing farmers with new opportunities to sell their products on world markets and support their efforts to increase productivity and production;
7. We agree that the priority Regional actions in agriculture on which we will focus will include -
(i) Elaboration of the Community Agricultural Policy and regional Strategic Plan;
(ii) upgrading of facilities and services for trade in agriculture products; strengthening national and Regional (collaboration in agriculture) research and development;
(iii) establishing an effective regime of sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures including a Regional Agriculture Health and Food Safety System (CAHFSA);
(iv) developing appropriate policies and incentives to encourage a stronger agriculture private sector;
(v) development and implementation of a Regional agriculture market information and intelligence system;
(vi) addressing the inadequacy of transportation to better enable the export of agriculture products;
(vii) maintenance of a reliable information platform to facilitate monitoring and evaluation and to indicate priority areas for urgent action;
(viii) Ensuring competitiveness in the agriculture sector;
(ix) Ensuring that adequate land is retained for agricultural production; and
(x) Encouraging the youth to become more engaged in the sector.
4 July 2009
LILIENDAAL DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT
We, the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community, at our Thirtieth Meeting of the Conference in Liliendaal, Guyana from 2–5 July 2009, affirm our commitment to the principles and objectives of the Caribbean Community as embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy -
1. Recalling the objective, principles and commitments of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol;
2. Gravely concerned that our efforts to promote sustainable development and to achieve the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are under severe threat from the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise which has led to increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, damage to bio diversity, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns.
3. Emphasising that dangerous climate change is already occurring in all SIDS (Small Islands and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) regions including the Caribbean and that many SIDS will cease to exist without urgent, ambitious and decisive action by the international community to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions significantly and to support SIDS in their efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including through the provision of increased levels of financial and technical resources.
4. Very concerned that the estimated total annual impact of potential climate change on all CARICOM countries is estimated at US$9.9 billion in the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 US$ prices or about 11.3% of the total annual GDP of all 20 CARICOM countries (Member States and Associate Member States) according to the World Bank estimates;
1. Our belief that the global response to climate change should be undertaken on the basis of common but differentiated as well as historical responsibility and that it should not compromise the ability of SIDS to pursue Sustainable Development and the sharing of the cost of addressing climate change should be equitable and should not perpetuate poverty.
2. Our continued commitment to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and call on all Parties to ensure that UNFCCC decisions are guided by that work;
3. Our Endorsement for the Caribbean Challenge in its efforts to protect the Region’s Marine Resources and in its work towards fulfilling the UNFCCC ecosystem-based management and adaptation recommendations and implementing the Millennium Development Goals related to reducing biodiversity loss;
4. Support for the co-ordinating role of the CARICOM Task Force for Climate Change and Development established by the Conference of Heads of State and Government and the implementing role of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the roles of the CARICOM Secretariat, the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) chaired by the Government of Grenada and the CARICOM Representatives in the international climate change negotiations; and
5. The importance of a common Regional approach to address the threats and challenges of climate change and of the full and effective participation of the Region in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark (COP15), the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Summit in September 2009 and their preparatory processes.
1. That all Parties to the UNFCCC should work with an increased sense of urgency and purpose towards arriving at an ambitious and comprehensive agreement at the COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009 which provides for: long-term stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at levels which will ensure that global average surface temperature increases will be limited to well below 1.5° C of pre-industrial levels; that global greenhouse gas emissions should peak by 2015; global Co2 reductions of at least 45 percent by 2020 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 95 per cent of 1990 CO2 levels by 2050;
2. Adaptation and capacity building must be prioritised and a formal and well financed framework established within and outside of the Convention, including the multi-window insurance facility, to address the immediate and urgent, as well as long term, adaptation needs of vulnerable countries, particularly the SIDS and the LDCs;
3. The need for financial support to SIDS to enhance their capacities to respond to the challenges brought on by climate change and to access the technologies that will be required to undertake needed mitigation actions and to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change;
4. Our full support for the location of the Headquarters of the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund Board in Barbados;
5. Support for climate change negotiations to be fully cognisant of the requirement for improved land use management;
6. Our recognition of the value and potential of standing forest, including pristine rainforest, and our affirmation of its potential contribution to Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Forest conservation or avoided deforestation and sustainable management of forests are important mitigation tools against climate change in a post 2012 Agreement. We also support the approach to harmonizing climate change mitigation and economic development as proposed by Guyana in its Low Carbon Development Strategy;
7. Strong determination to overcome technical, economic and policy barriers to facilitate the development, diffusion and deployment of appropriate and affordable low- and zero-emission technologies and renewable energy services; We also recognise the need for energy efficiency and conservation and the need for increased technical and financial support for the development of renewable energy in the Caribbean;
8. Our commitment to providing more effective preparedness for response to natural disasters through the development of better risk assessment and material coordination along with the streamlining of risk reduction initiatives. In pursing this task, we call on the Parties negotiating the new Climate Change Agreement to endorse the Alliance for Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) proposal on risk management and risk reduction strategies, including risk sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance;
9. Strong support for the streamlining of all climate change funding mechanisms including the Global Environment Facility to include the vulnerability index in their formulae in order to better facilitate SIDS’ access to financial resources; and to explore mechanisms to support the Caribbean Community adaptation programmes;
10. Our commitment to ensuring that the Caribbean Community and its supporting institutions will play their full part in implementing our shared vision, goals and actions, working in strategic partnerships with others;
11. Our resolve to strengthen our educational institutions to provide training , education, research and development programmes in climate change and disaster risk management particularly in renewable and other forms of alternative energy, forestry, agriculture, tourism, health, coastal zone management and water resources management to increase the Region’s capacity to build resilience and adapt to climate change; and
12. Our further resolve to institute a comprehensive programme of public awareness and education and hereby invite all, partners, organisations and stakeholders to play a full part in promoting a better understanding of climate change and its impacts and in addressing adaptation and mitigation.
4 July 2009
Message to CARICOM Heads of Government
from Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP,
Leader of Government Business/Premier Designate
1 July 2009
His Excellency Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana and Chairman of the Conference
His Excellency Mr. Edwin Carrington, Secretary General of CARICOM
Fellow Heads of Government
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Members of the Caribbean Community
I am honoured to be recognized as the newest Head of Government in CARICOM. It is my sincere wish that I could be there in person to participate in the Thirtieth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community and share in this unique time of fellowship and discussion with my regional counterparts. It would have been an equally great privilege to enjoy the warm and gracious hospitality of the beautiful people of Guyana. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the Heads of Government who sent congratulatory messages after my election victory in May.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Most Honourable Percival J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica on being conferred the Order of the Caribbean Community. This public recognition is well deserved given your lifetime of service to the region. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica have always enjoyed good relations and as we move forward, I view it as my continued duty to improve this relationship.
As you are well aware, the world, inclusive of the Caribbean Community is faced with economic challenges not seen in most of our lifetimes. Today we in the Cayman Islands find ourselves facing real direct threats to our existence as a financial services centre, and to the economic miracle which has been one of key pillars that promote prosperity, opportunities and development. My absence today is due to my direct involvement in addressing some of these threats.
I was returned in recent elections with a mandate from our people to lead us through these turbulent times. This mandate finds me leading negotiations in Europe for the signing of key tax information exchange agreements. Therefore I have asked the Hon. Mark Scotland, Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture to head our delegation as I wanted to assure the Community of the Cayman Islands’ commitment as Associate Members.
The work of CARICOM remains very dear to my heart. Indeed, it was during my previous Leadership that the Cayman Islands became Associate Members of CARICOM. I continue to be a strong supporter of regional development as I am convinced that we all benefit from a strong, stable and prosperous region.
This Conference presents a tremendous opportunity for us as leaders to coordinate our efforts to move this region forward and prepare us not only to survive these difficult times but to thrive when this heavy veil is finally lifted. We must be in a strategic position to take advantage of new opportunities when they inevitably arrive.
Never have the challenges been greater for the region when we consider threats from climate change, diseases/pandemics and crime in addition to the global financial crisis.
Nevertheless, let us always be encouraged by the fact that God has blessed us with the privilege of living in the most beautiful region in the entire world, surrounded by so many of His glorious works.
Our people are demanding of us as Heads of Government to provide stability, good governance, transparency, real economic opportunities and social development; and I dare say they should expect nothing less. Let us therefore continue to be faithful servants and good stewards of the precious resources with which we have been entrusted.
I wish you all a productive and edifying Conference and I look forward to continuing to work with our neighbors in the region on areas of mutual interest.
Signed: Hon. W. McKeeva Bush OBE, JP