A COMMUNITY FOR ALL : DECLARATION ON FUNCTIONAL COOPERATION, ISSUED BY THE HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY ON THE OCCASION OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE, 1-4 JULY 2007, NEEDHAM’S POINT, BARBADOS
Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings | 05 July 2007 | Release Ref #: NA | 1184
WE, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), meeting at Needham’s Point, Barbados, 1-4 July, 2007 on the occasion of the 28th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM;
Determined that the goal of our regional integration process is, first and foremost, to enhance the well-being of all of the citizens of our countries;
Recalling the 1989 Declaration of Grand Anse in which we recognised the deepening of the regional integration process as critical to the Community’s ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the changes in the global economy;
Having signed the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and, so doing, giving impetus to the creation of new institutional arrangements designed to implement the provisions thereof;
Reaffirming Article 6 (i) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which identifies enhanced functional cooperation as one of the fundamental objectives of our Community;
Recalling the immense contribution that functional cooperation has made so far to the regional integration movement and that these purposeful, collaborative, coordinated actions have yielded significant and tangible benefits to the people of the Community, especially in areas such as education, health, sport, culture, sustainable development and security;
Recognising the shortages of skills in key areas, occasioned by continuous migration and the negative effect this poses for development;
Determined also to ensure the equitable distribution among the peoples of CARICOM of the gains realised specifically through the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and generally through the regional integration process;
Fully convinced that functional cooperation, conceived as the body of actions and activities that integrate the Community’s political, economic, security and social policy goals with its cultural, scientific, technological and environmental objectives, offers great opportunities for the future and therefore must permeate the work of every council and institution of the Community and in this regard, contribute to the increase in the welfare and security of the Community’s citizens;
1. That improvement of the quality of life of CARICOM citizens is the paramount objective of our Region’s integration process;
2. Our determination to make functional cooperation a priority within the Community as one of the principal means by which the benefits of the integration movement are distributed through the length and breadth of the Community, including its Associate Members, and among all its peoples, thereby engendering a “Community for All”;
3. That we will achieve this objective primarily using regional institutions, organisations and other entities whose mandates support our efforts and in this regard, pay specific attention to strengthening the capacity of the CARICOM Secretariat and in particular its legal division;
4. Our commitment to take action, at the national level, in support of regional cooperation, particularly through the establishment of appropriate complementary mechanisms
5. That the Task Force to review the status of functional cooperation should be constituted as soon as possible and provide a full report, through the Community Council, to the next meeting of the Conference;
6. That we mandate, in this regard, a comprehensive review of regional institutions with a view effectively to rationalising their functions, funding and structures better to provide common services and coordination of national policies and programmes within the Community;
7. That we will pursue these objectives, as a priority, in the areas outlined below and review, on a regular basis, the progress achieved.
With regard to
8. Health – ‘The Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region’
Recalling the Nassau Declaration on Health, which stated, inter alia, that ‘the health of the region is the wealth of the region’, as well as the recommendations of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development,
Emphasise the intrinsic and instrumental value of the health of our people;
Agree to establish the areas of functional cooperation to enable health to contribute to the other fundamental objectives of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, utilising our regional health institutions and partner agencies;
Commit ourselves to working towards creating the conditions for equitable access, by every Community citizen, to adequate health care in each CARICOM Member State.
9. Human and Social Development
Appreciating that the effective development and deployment of our skilled human resources are critical to the achievement of competitiveness and our economic objectives and confident that social development is a precondition for sustainable prosperity,
With regard to –
(i) Social Welfare
Commit ourselves to establishing effective modalities to ensure the portability of pensions and other social security benefits for our citizens as they move across the Community;
Recognise the central role of culture in forging regional identity and in this regard are determined to foster greater collaboration among national cultural entities and ensure that CARIFESTA plays its critical role in developing the region’s cultural industries;
(iii) Education and training
Commit ourselves to working towards creating the conditions for equitable access for every CARICOM citizen to the necessary education and training that will allow them to realise their full potential as productive and creative members of our society;
Acknowledge the potential of information and communication technologies to support distance education initiatives and, in that context, continue to support the CARICOM Knowledge Learning Network (CKLN) which will assist in providing the infrastructure necessary to amplify the broad educational opportunities for our citizens;
Also welcome the imminent introduction of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification which will provide a credible, fair and transparent assessment of skills and competencies of Community nationals as they move and work within the region;
Welcome the new employment opportunities which have arisen from the establishment of the Single Market and Single Economy and reaffirm our determination to increase them further;
Agree, in this regard, to work towards the creation of regional labour market information systems to facilitate the identification of employment opportunities across the region;
Also agree that where appropriate, the skills and experience of retired citizens of the community and members of the Caribbean Diaspora be tapped and made available for the region’s development.
(v) Youth and Development
10. Communication – “Bridging the Divide”
Recognising that the establishment of efficient communication links is critical to community building and is a prerequisite for the unfettered movement of information, goods and people throughout the region.
With regard to-
Resolve to develop and implement a regional air and maritime transportation policy designed to create affordable, reliable and safe intra-regional transportation services;
Information and communication technology
Stress the importance of adopting a coordinated approach to the development of and access to information and communication technologies and networks by the populations of the region as a means of achieving greater social cohesion and as a platform for further economic development and participation in the global economy;
Resolve to establish a framework for the coordination of telecommunications policy and to develop within the Community a single domestic space for telecommunications.
Commit ourselves to intensify public education with a view to further involving citizens of the region in the integration process.
11. Crime and security – ‘Securing our Community’
Aware that the security of our people is our highest responsibility and deeply committed to reducing vulnerability to crime and other threats to security within national borders and in our shared economic space, as well as to those emanating from beyond,
Agree to build on the security arrangements successfully implemented for Cricket World Cup 2007 in order to enhance the well-being of the region’s citizens and preserve the safety and security of our countries;
Further agree to accelerate the process of intelligence-sharing and human resource development and to develop other relevant bilateral and multilateral security arrangements to supplement limited national resources;
Resolve to develop regional law enforcement instruments which will facilitate a coordinated approach to the scourge of organised crime, international terrorism and financial crimes.
12. Environment –“Preserving and Protecting our Patrimony”
Convinced that the quality of life of our people and the sustainable development of our countries are reliant upon the conservation and protection of our natural environment and the maintenance of our precious biodiversity,
With regard to-
Fully support the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a recognised Centre of Excellence, in pursuit of its mandate to coordinate the region’s response and adaptation to climate change, which constitutes a real threat to the viability of our states;
Welcome the imminent establishment of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which is to replace CDERA, as a critical institution for mitigating the impact of natural and man-made disasters on our Member States within the broader framework of the region’s sustainable development agenda;
Reiterate our support to the initiative to have the Caribbean Sea recognised as a Special Area in the context of sustainable development so as to protect and preserve this essential and vulnerable shared natural resource.
Recognising the necessity of a sustainable, stable and affordable supply of energy for the development of our societies,
Support the work of the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme in the implementation of its mandate and give urgency to the development of renewable energy options to reduce the region’s dependence on fossil fuels;
Agree to complete the elaboration of a regional energy policy which will address, among others, issues relating to cost, sustainability and security of supply, bearing in mind the special role of CARICOM net energy-exporting countries;
Instruct the Ministers responsible for Energy urgently to meet in order to address these and other energy-related issues and report, through the Community Council, to the next meeting of the Conference.
Underlining the significance of agriculture, not just as an economic sector, but as an expression of a distinctive Caribbean way of life,
Reaffirm our commitment to realising the objectives of the Jagdeo Initiative which seeks to revitalise the agriculture sectors and stimulate entrepreneurial capacity among the agricultural communities across the region.
15. WE PLEDGE, THEREFORE, TO INVEST IN FUNCTIONAL COOPERATION FOR THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF OUR REGION’S HUMAN AND SOCIAL CAPITAL, WHOSE GREATEST DIVIDEND IS THE CREATION OF A COMMUNITY FOR ALL.