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COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE THIRTY-SECOND REGULAR MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, 30 JUNE - 4 JULY 2011, BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS AND NEVIS


Posted in: Communiques | 04 July 2011 | Release Ref #: 258/2011 | 1102

    The Thirty-Second Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at Frigate Bay, St. Kitts and Nevis from 30 June - 4 July 2011. The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas 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, Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerritt; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas; the President of the Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo; the President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly; the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding; the Chief Minister of Montserrat, Hon. Reuben Meade; the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Stephenson King; the President of the Republic of Suriname, His Excellency Desiré Delano Bouterse; and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

    Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade represented Belize and the Hon. Dr. Douglas Slater, Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hon. Hubert Benjamin Hughes, represented that Associate Member.

    OPENING CEREMONY

    The Chairman of CARICOM, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon. Freundel Stuart; the Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas; the President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly; the President of the Republic of Suriname, His Excellency Desiré D. Bouterse; and the Acting CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, addressed the Opening Ceremony. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Dr. Douglas Slater, read an address on behalf of the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves.

    The addresses are available at http://www.caricom.org .

    AWARDS

    Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC)

    Sir Edwin Carrington, former Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, was invested with the Community’s highest honour, the Order of the Caribbean Community. In presenting the Award, the Community heralded him as instrumental in deepening the regional integration process, having overseen the revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the consequent transition of the Community from a Common Market to a Single Market.

    CARICOM Triennial Award for Women

    The Tenth CARICOM Triennial Award for Women was bestowed upon Professor Violet Eudine Barriteau Deputy Principal, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, for her outstanding contribution to Gender and Development and the socio-economic development of the Caribbean Community.

    Annual CARICOM 10K Road Race

    Presentations were also made to the winners of the CARICOM 10K Road Race which was staged on Sunday 3 July 2011 in St. Kitts and Nevis. Prime Minister Douglas presented the CARICOM Chairman’s Trophy to Zepherinus Joseph of Saint Lucia winner of the male category in the event. His Excellency Desire Bouterse, President of the Republic of Suriname, Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM quasi-cabinet for Youth, Sport, Gender and Community Development presented the Trophy to Euleen Josiah-Tanner of Guyana who won in the Female Category.

    GOVERNANCE

    Heads of Government mandated the Inter-Governmental Task Force (IGTF) revising the Treaty to consider and develop amendments to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement provisions of the Treaty and include sanctions and other measures to secure compliance.

    Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community

    Heads of Government reviewed the recommendations made by the Search Committee for the post of Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community. They agreed to conduct interviews with the short-listed candidates within two weeks and committed themselves to making a decision on the new Secretary-General shortly thereafter.

    Review of the CARICOM Secretariat

    Heads of Government received an initial report and held discussions with the team of consultants on the on-going Review of the CARICOM Secretariat. They looked forward to further interaction with the team during their in-country consultations and to receiving their final report before the end of the year.

    The Review of the Secretariat is the first in a series of initiatives mandated by the Heads of Government towards improving governance arrangements within the Community. The Review of the CARICOM Secretariat will be followed by a review of all Organisations and Institutions established within the Community.

    PRIORITIES FOR THE COMMUNITY

    CSME

    In elaborating on discussions held at their Special Retreat in Guyana on 21-22 May on the priorities for the Community, Heads of Government affirmed the importance of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) in advancing the development of the Region.

    They reiterated the importance of ensuring a fully effective and efficient Single Market which is critical to making the Region more competitive and better equipped to compete in the global market place. While reiterating their intention to review the schedule towards full implementation of the Single Economy, putting a pause on specific elements, such as the creation of a Single Currency, Heads of Government highlighted the critical importance of advancing implementation of those elements of the Single Economy which would create an environment more conducive to investment and job creation.

    With special reference to agriculture, Heads of Government reiterated the importance of the sector to the socio-economic development of the Region. They agreed on the need for action which would more effectively take the plans and programmes already developed from paper to field to market to ensure food and nutrition security for the Region.

    The issue of transportation continued to engage the attention of the Heads of Government. They recognised that efforts were being made to resolve the challenges posed but recognised that these were not yet adequate to address the problem.

    Heads of Government called on the private sector, civil society particular labour, and the universities of the Region to help create innovative solutions to encouraging competitiveness. They received an update on the formation of the Caribbean Business Council and recognised it as an important element in the continued engagement with the private sector.

    ICT4D

    Heads of Government acknowledged the importance of Information and Communication Technology to the development of the Community. In that context they received an update on the preparation of the Draft Regional Digital Development Strategy and Implementation Plan.

    Heads of Government urged all Member States to advance their review of the strategy expeditiously so that it can meet final approval at their next Inter-Sessional Meeting.

    Heads of Government welcomed the imminent establishment of C@ribnet by the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) in Member States of the Community. This regional research and education network will provide social bandwidth to connect education and research institutions throughout the Region, facilitating among other things, increased access to tertiary education and collaboration in providing health care. C@ribnet will also link to other similar networks throughout the world thus providing global reach to such collaboration.

    EXTERNAL TRADE

    Heads of Government noted the progress being made in the negotiations of a Trade and Development Agreement with Canada, and re-affirmed their commitment to finalising a mutually beneficial Agreement as soon as possible. In this context, they affirmed the importance which the Region attached to the renewal of the CARIBCAN waiver to facilitate the conclusion of the negotiations.

    They expressed concern that after ten (10) years of negotiations, a successful outcome of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Development Agenda still eludes the international community, thereby further delaying the reform of the multilateral trading system that would place development at its core.

    Heads of Government expressed appreciation for the invaluable partnership with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) which is supporting the development of the Region's Aid for Trade Strategy, including the elaboration of major projects in the areas such as Maritime Transport, ICT, Trade Facilitation and Logistics, as well as the Region’s preparations for participation in the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade.

    They looked forward to a positive outcome of upcoming engagements with Cuba and the Dominican Republic on the respective bilateral trade agreements with those two (2) countries

    COMMUNITY RELATIONS

    Haiti

    Heads of Government welcomed the President of Haiti to his first meeting of the Conference and were pleased to begin the discussions with him on strengthening of that Member State’s role within the Community. They expressed pleasure at the commencement of the non-reciprocal trading arrangement granted by the Community to Haiti for a three-year period beginning 1 January 2011. They looked forward to the completion of arrangements for Haiti’s full participation in the Single Market.

    Heads of Government also looked forward to being in Haiti in 2013, for their Twenty-Fourth Inter-Sessional Meeting to be held in the first quarter of that year.

    Heads of Government also received Reports on a range of recent developments relating to Haiti from their Special Representative on Haiti and from the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

    They reiterated their call for the international community to fulfil their pledges to finance the reconstruction of Haiti, following the devastation of the January 2010 earthquake. They deplored the continued dilatory manner in which the pledges were being honoured and underlined the importance of taking into account the priorities determined by the Government of Haiti in the approval of projects by the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission.

    Heads of Government also concurred with the position advanced by the Special Representative with respect to the importance of capacity-building including of the public administration, for the sustainable development of Haiti and committed to pursuing consultations with the new government to put in place arrangements for the Community’s contribution in this critical area. Heads of Government congratulated the University of the West Indies (UWI) on its assistance to the Haitian tertiary education sector. They noted that UWI would again be accepting final year students from Haiti in partnership with the State University of Haiti from the next academic year and that the UWI will be waiving tuition and fees for those students.

    Heads of Government welcomed a statement from the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago on the commitment of that country to the integration process. The statement is available at www.caricom.org

    Turks and Caicos Islands Constitutional Issue

    Heads of Government expressed their continued concern about the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands, an Associate Member of the Community.

    They noted that the constitutional reform process had been completed though not to the full satisfaction of the Islanders.

    They reiterated their expectations that elections will be held in the shortest timeframe possible, in order to lead to a return to self rule and democratic and representative governance. They requested the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) to continue to monitor the situation closely, in order to keep them informed.

    HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

    Health

    Heads of Government noted the progress made in the sector across the Community over the past ten years to improve the health and well-being of the people and to contribute to economic development of the Region.

    Heads of Government welcomed the entry into force of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which will have its Headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago. CARPHA is intended to advance the realization, embodied in the Nassau Declaration signed ten years ago (2001): the Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region. In this regard, it is expected to highlight the opportunity costs of pursuing public health functions in a consolidated way, rather than as disparate entities, as existed until now, that duplicate efforts and dilute the public health objectives for which they were designed.

    Heads of Government lauded the contribution of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), which has earned the accolade of an international best practice by the UN in the fight against the disease and noted with satisfaction its achievements as the partnership celebrated this year, the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the PANCAP Commitment.

    Heads of Government applauded the positive contribution of the Community led by PANCAP at the recent UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. They noted that among the major Caribbean regional commitments contained in the outcome document were the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, reducing AIDS-related maternal deaths by 2015 and the need to ensure that financial resources for prevention are targeted to evidence-based prevention measures.

    Heads of Government welcomed the significant role being played by the Community in advocacy and preparation for the UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) scheduled for UN Headquarters, New York, USA 19-20 September 2011.

    They recalled the successful outcome of their 2007 Summit on NCDs in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago which stimulated a wellness revolution and led to the observance of Caribbean Wellness Day as an annual event.

    Heads of Government stressed the Community’s commitment to pursuing an agenda that placed emphasis on: Four (4) Diseases: Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Chronic Respiratory Illnesses and Cancer; Four (4) Risk Factors: Tobacco, Diet, Physical Inactivity and Inappropriate Alcohol use and Four Strategic Approaches: Risk Factor Reduction, Health System Reform, Equitable access to effective, affordable medications and improving surveillance and program monitoring and evaluation.

    Heads of Government committed to ensuring representation of the Community at the highest level, at the High-Level Meeting in September.

    Human Resource Development

    Heads of Government received an update on the transformation of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and implementation of its 2007-2012 Strategic Plan. They noted that enrolment had doubled but expressed concern at the fact that the male enrolment was less than half of that of the female.

    Heads of Government urged that steps be taken to improve the regional character of the University with specific reference to the 12 countries in which the University does not have a physical presence (UWI 12). In that regard they recognised efforts to enhance the University’s presence through the use of technology and the establishment of a Task Force to examine this problem.

    Climate Change

    Heads of Government noted preparations for the upcoming United Nations 17TH Climate Change Conference (COP 17) - 28 November to 9 December 2011, Durban, South Africa. They expressed the hope that this round of negotiations would result in a balanced outcome which adequately addresses the issues core to the interests of the Caribbean Community.

    They agreed to the establishment of a team of experts to draft a regional plan of action to guide regional negotiators within the fora of the UNFCCC.

    Heads of Government requested that the postponed Third Joint Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development and the Council for Trade and Economic Development take place as soon as possible to facilitate work on a regional plan of action in preparation for COP 17 and on the Implementation Plan for the Regional Climate Change Strategic Framework.

    Sustainable Development

    Heads of Government recognised the importance of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 scheduled for June 2012. They noted that the Conference focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development both of which have great relevance to the Community.

    They urged that the Community move urgently with its preparations and consolidate a CARICOM position within the framework of the Small Island Developing States platform.

    Cricket

    Heads of Government agreed that the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on cricket should engage the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in an effort to resolve their on-going dispute. This Sub-Committee comprises Heads of Government of Antigua and Barbuda (Chair), Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Chair of the Conference as an ex officio member (St. Kitts and Nevis).

    SECURITY

    Heads of Government received a report from the Chairman of the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement regarding the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

    They commended the Council for its actions to date and looked forward to the conclusion of the audit of the Agency and a further report from the CONSLE on the recommendations arising out of the investigations.

    Heads of Government adopted the CARICOM Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons as the regional mechanism in the collective effort to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition. They noted with grave concern that the use of these weapons has spawned an alarming rise in murders and gun violence throughout the Region. A copy of the CARICOM Declaration is provided below.

    Trafficking in Persons

    Heads of Government emphasized once again their strong commitment to combating the crime of trafficking in persons, underlining that they have adopted and implemented policies of prevention, prosecution and victim protection in their respective Member States. They reiterated their deep concern that the United States of America continues to place several of the countries of the Caribbean Community on either Tier II or the Tier II Watchlist, noting that countries that are placed on the Tier II Watchlist for three (3) successive years will be subject to sanctions by the USA. This unilateral rating is likely to affect several CARICOM countries.

    The Heads of Government deplored that despite consultation with US authorities, the reports of Trafficking in Persons (TIPS) issued by the United States State Department continued to contain many allegations that could not be substantiated as the required evidence was not provided.

    Heads of Government reiterated their invitation to the Government of the United States to engage in meaningful dialogue on this issue with Member States.

    FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES

    Candidatures

    Heads of Government endorsed the candidacy of Dr Clarissa Etienne of Dominica, for the post of Director-General of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) for the period 2013 -

    Heads of Government also endorsed the candidacy of Dr John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, for the post of President of the United Nations General Assembly for the 2013-14 Session.

    The Situation in Libya

    Heads of Government deplored the increasing loss of innocent life as the conflict in Libya becomes drawn out. They called for a ceasefire as well as the early convening of negotiations. In this regard, they expressed support for the African Union in their search for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

    Venezuela

    Heads of Government expressed grave concern over the illness of His Excellency Hugo Chavez, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and despatched the following message:

    “It is with grave concern that we, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) greet reports of the illness of His Excellency Hugo Chavez, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, a close friend and committed partner of the Community.

    We are confident that his resilience and strength will be of great assistance to him in this trying time and we look forward to his full and speedy recovery”.

    Summits

    Heads of Government recognised the importance of their participation in three (3) Summits in the coming months. These were the Third CARICOM-SICA Summit (19 August 2011, San Salvador, El Salvador); Twenty-Eighth Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government, (28-30 October 2011, Perth, Australia) and Fourth CARICOM-Cuba Summit, (8 December 2011, Trinidad and Tobago). The Council for Foreign and Community Relations has been tasked with ensuring that thorough preparations are undertaken for the meaningful participation of the Community in these important events.

    EXCHANGE OF VIEWS WITH SPECIAL GUESTS

    Heads of Government exchanged views with His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia; His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General, Organisation of American States (OAS); Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development and Honourable Sarah Wescott-Williams, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.

    Heads of Government welcomed the interest of His Excellency Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, President of Colombia in strengthening his country’s relations with CARICOM. Heads of Government and the President agreed on the need for strengthening South-South co-operation and the development of transportation links between the Community and Latin America as means of promoting deeper relations.

    Heads of Government also received an update on the arrangements and proposals for the agenda of the 2012 Summit of the Americas to be held in Cartagena, Colombia on 14-15 April 2012.

    They engaged with the OAS Secretary-General on key developments within the hemisphere. They reiterated the Community’s appreciation for the assistance of the OAS to Haiti and discussed ways that this co-operation could be strengthened to the benefit of this Member State of both organisations.

    Heads of Government and the Secretary-General agreed that the two (2) Organisations would work together to develop an agenda to address the security concerns of the Region, in the context of the OAS Security Programme and the CARICOM Security Agenda.

    In discussions with Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development, Heads of Government used the opportunity to discuss ways in which the EU could continue to assist the development of the Community with an emphasis on investment and job creation.

    Heads of Government expressed concern at the protracted delay in the disbursement of funds from the Commission for already approved programmes and projects.

    Heads of Government and the Commissioner commended CARICOM/CARIFORUM representatives and EU officials in Brussels for their work in drafting the Joint Caribbean-EU Strategy (JEUCS) which would lay the groundwork for a more mature relationship encompassing political dialogue and development cooperation. The Joint Strategy is intended to foster an enhanced Caribbean-EU relationship to better respond to global challenges and to articulate common interests and would outline the framework for Caribbean-EU relations over the next five (5) years beginning in 2012.

    Heads of Government welcomed the signing of Agreements for disbursement of budget support to Jamaica and for a 7.9 million Euro programme to support the Climate Change Agenda of the Region.

    Heads of Government and the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, the Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams held preliminary discussions with a view to Sint Maarten submitting a formal request to become an Associate Member of the Community.

    Heads of Government noted with satisfaction, that the Special Envoy of the Government of Cuba, Hon. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, had held very fruitful discussions with the Chairman of the Conference and the Community Council Ministers, regarding the arrangements and issues to be discussed at the IV CARICOM-Cuba Summit, to be held in Trinidad and Tobago on 8 December 2011.

    BORDER ISSUES

    Guyana-Venezuela Relations

    Heads of Government expressed their satisfaction that Guyana and Venezuela continued to enjoy exceptionally good relations.

    They noted that the two (2) countries remained committed to the Good Officer Process of the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) in seeking a peaceful solution to the border controversy.

    They reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.

    Belize–Guatemala Relations

    Heads of Government noted the report on the status of Belize-Guatemala relations and the commitment of the two (2) countries to conduct the simultaneous referenda to decide whether to refer the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice for final settlement as required by the Special Agreement. They welcomed the efforts of both countries to improve the effectiveness of the Agreement on Confidence Building Measures to reduce tensions, pending a final resolution to the territorial dispute and to develop modes of functional cooperation in areas of mutual concern.

    Heads of Government commended the support of the Group of Friends and the Organisation of American States (OAS) in helping to maintain peace and stability in the Region and called on the international community to continue to support the OAS and the two (2) countries in this respect.

    Heads of Government noted the continued presence of the office of the OAS located in Belize along the Adjacency Zone which straddles both borders.

    Heads of Government also noted that the Guatemalan Congress had given the legislative approval for the referendum in that country and that both Belize and Guatemala had to agree on the date for the referendum to be held. It is not expected that the referendum can be held before the middle of 2013.

    They further reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize.

    AGREEMENTS SIGNED AT THE MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE

    Agreement establishing the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Medicine and Health Professions
    Dominica – 3rd July

    Agreement establishing the Caribbean Community Accreditation Agency for Education and Training
    Grenada – 2nd July

    Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
    The Bahamas – 2nd July
    Guyana – 2nd July
    St. Vincent and the Grenadines – 2nd July
    Suriname – 2nd July
    Trinidad and Tobago – 2nd July

    Amendment to Annex III of the Agreement Relating to the Operation of the CARICOM Development Fund
    Dominica – 3rd July

    Amendment to the Agreement establishing the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System
    Guyana – 2nd July
    Suriname – 2nd July
    Dominica – 3rd July

    Caribbean Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
    Grenada – 2nd July

    Protocol Amending the CARICOM Agreement on Social Security
    Grenada – 2nd July

    Agreement on the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network Agency
    Jamaica - 3rd July

    Messages

    The Conference received a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG) which is attached to this Communiqué.

    The Conference also received a message from the Caribbean Movement for Civil Empowerment.

    TWENTY-THIRD INTER-SESSIONAL MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE

    In accordance with the Rotation Schedule, His Excellency Desire Delano Bouterse, President of the Republic of Suriname, will assume the Chair of the Conference of Heads of Government for the six-month period commencing 1 January 2012.

    The Twenty-Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference will be held in Suriname on dates to be proposed by that Member State.

    APPRECIATION

    Heads of Government expressed appreciation to the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis for their warm and generous hospitality during their Thirty-Second Regular Meeting.

    Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
    4 July 2011


    CARICOM DECLARATION ON SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS

    The Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),

    Recalling that Security has been established as the Fourth Pillar of the Community,

    Also recalling the important role being played by the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, IMPACS, established to manage the region’s agenda on transnational organized crime, security and related matter,

    Further recalling the Statement issued at the conclusion of the Thirteenth Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 4-5 April 2008, dedicated to all aspects of crime and violence in the Region,

    Deeply concerned with the prevalence of illegal firearms and ammunition in perpetrating acts of crime and violence in the region, and its attendant effects, including loss of life, widespread human suffering, and the spread of fear and insecurity in our societies,

    Gravely concerned with the continuing negative impact of crime and violence on the socio-economic development and economic viability of CARICOM States,

    Strongly deploring the ease of access to illicit small arms and light weapons and ammunition, particularly given that the region does not manufacture, export or re-export these weapons, nor import them on a large scale,

    Emphasizing the important role to be played by States that manufacture small arms and light weapons and ammunition, in preventing their diversion to the illicit trade,

    Recognizing also that a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach is necessary to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and ammunition,

    Aware that the delivery of justice to the victims of armed violence is an essential element of measures to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons,

    Acknowledging the importance of technical assistance in preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and ammunition, as well as other elements of transnational organized crime,

    Emphasizing that cooperation at the regional, sub-regional and international levels is an important factor in addressing this trans-border problem,

    Recalling in this regard, the 2001 United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects which remains the only international process that addresses solely the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons,

    Recalling also, the Inter-American Convention on Transparency in Conventional Weapons Acquisition, and the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other related materials,

    Cognizant of the significance of the International Instrument on Marking and Tracing in preventing, eradicating and combating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons,

    Committed to ensuring the region’s full and active participation in regional and international meetings related to the issue of small arms including in particular, the 2012 Review of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, and the 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, and all relevant preparatory meetings

    Reaffirming our commitment to prevent, combat and eradicate the proliferation of and the illicit trade in small and light weapons and ammunition in all its aspects,

    Strongly desirous of establishing stable, just, and developed Societies, based on the rule of law, democracy, the principles of justice and fairness,

    Solemnly commit to:

    1. implement all necessary actions at the national and regional level to fully combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition;

    2. take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the 2001 Programme of Action to Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, including through the development and implementation of national action plans to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons;

    3. empower national and regional security entities, with the necessary capacities to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, as well as other elements of transnational organized crime, including in the areas of border control, intelligence gathering, and forensic analysis etc;

    4. support the implementation and enforcement of policies and legislation against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition at the national level as well as harmonisation of legislation in the fight against illicit transfers at the regional level;

    5. work together in enhancing the management and security of small arms and light weapons and ammunition stockpiles, including the identification and destruction of surplus;

    6. intensify and sustain engagement in the United Nations effort for the conclusion of a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty;

    7. continue to accord the highest national and regional priority to matters related to combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.

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