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CARICOM. SPAIN SIGN JOINT DECLARATION


Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings | 12 July 2008 | Release Ref #: NA | 902

    (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)  The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Kingdom of Spain have signed a Joint Declaration that encompasses issues ranging from political dialogue to economic and cultural development. The Joint Declaration was signed at the conclusion of the IV CARICOM-Spain Summit held in Madrid, Spain on 11 July 2008.

    Please see the full text of the Declaration below:

    IV SPAIN-CARICOM SUMMIT
    MADRID (SPAIN), 11 -12 JULY 2008

    Heads of Government of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Head of Government of Spain met for a joint working meeting with the aim of reviewing political and economic issues as well as matters related to cooperation which affect both Parties. At the end of the IV CARICOM-Spain Summit, held in Madrid (Spain) on 11 July 2008, the following was signed

    JOINT DECLARATION

    I.   POLITICAL DIALOGUE

    The IV Spain-CARICOM Summit is a demonstration of the excellent state of relations between both Parties, and represents the will to maintain a stable institutional framework for political dialogue, following on the three previous Summits held in Port of Spain in 1999 and Madrid in 2002 and 2006.

    The Summit gives new impetus to cooperation undertaken in the political and economic fields as well as the areas of cooperation for development and culture.

    It is on another hand a symbol of the strategic decision on the part of Spain and the Member States of CARICOM to strengthen a strong friendship, based on common values of respect for the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as the promotion of sustainable development for their citizens. It represents a decision to lay the foundations for a future strategic alliance based on mutual cooperation in a variety of areas.

    Both Parties express their satisfaction on the process of strengthening of relations following the Third Summit in 2006.

    A)   European Union-Caribbean Relations

    1) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain reaffirm the importance of the V EU-LAC Summit held on 16 May 2008, Lima, Peru, following as it does the First Four Summits held in Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Guadalajara and Vienna respectively, as a demonstration of the strategic association existing between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

    2) Spain and CARICOM, within the framework of economic and trade relations between the European Union (EU) and CARICOM, are pleased with the conclusion of negotiations for the signature of a new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM and reiterate the commitments made in this agreement as regards the political, economic and developmental dimensions of the EU/CARIFORUM relations. Spain expresses its willingness to support CARICOM’s efforts to fully exploit the opportunities created by the EPA through the enhancement of CARICOM’s competitiveness in both the goods and services sectors and to constructively confront the challenges engendered by the adjustments made necessary as a result of the Agreement.

    3) Spain expresses its willingness to work towards addressing sensitive issues such as the impact of the reform of the EU sugar regime on CARICOM's sugar sector, the arrangements for the export of Caribbean bananas to the EU and the outcome of the discussions on the rebinding of the EU's MFN tariff on bananas, as well as trading arrangements for other commodities under negotiation in the WTO with a view to achieving acceptable outcomes for CARICOM producers. Spain will also pay close attention to projects and programmes financed by the EU in those countries. Spain acknowledges the importance of these issues to CARICOM Member States and takes note that they will be the subject of a political demarche on the EU by CARICOM Heads of Government.

    4) Consistent with the Joint Declaration on Development Cooperation annexed to the CARIFORUM-EC EPA, the Member States of CARICOM and Spain commit themselves to developing modalities for Spain’s contribution of Aid for Trade resources to CARICOM.

    B)   Bilateral and multilateral relations

    1) Spain and CARICOM reaffirm their commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter, multilateralism as a guiding principle for international relations, as well as the fight against terrorism in all forms, in accordance with the principles of International Law.

    2) Both Parties reiterate their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and the universality of these rights and support the efforts of the United Nations and the OAS in this area.

    3) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain underscore their commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in the fight against poverty and the conservation and management of natural resources, biodiversity and the environment in general. The Parties further commit themselves to work together to address the negative effects of climate change on small islands and low-lying coastal states.

    4) Spain declares its willingness to support the agenda of the Small Island Developing States, in their efforts to make progress towards sustainable development. The Member States express their gratitude for Spain's cooperation efforts, especially its recent contribution to the development of the SIDSNet.

    5) Spain recognizes the special needs of Middle Income Countries and the importance of retaining this on the Agenda of the various international financial and cooperation bodies, and expresses its willingness to advance, as far as possible, the interest of CARICOM in this regard.

    6) CARICOM Member States congratulate Spain on the opening of its third resident Embassy in the Region, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The Member States of CARICOM also express their satisfaction on the accreditation by the Government of Spain of an Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the Caribbean Community. The Member States of CARICOM are convinced that these initiatives reflect the firm commitment of Spain to further enhance its relations with Region.

    7) Spain is committed to collaborating with CARICOM in the latter’s efforts to advance its regional integration process. In that regard, it will pay particular attention to the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy as well as to the deepening of the OECS sub-regional integration effort which is a critical element of the CARICOM regional integration process. Spain will also share with CARICOM information on its experience in the European integration process and in this regard expressed its willingness to contribute to the CARICOM Development Fund which complements the operations of the CSME.

    8) Both Parties reaffirm the importance accorded to the intensification of bi-regional political and economic dialogue between the Iberoamerican Community and CARICOM, united by their geographical proximity and their common interests, and commit themselves to supporting the institutionalization of mechanisms related to that relationship, particularly through the General Secretariat of the Iberoamerican Community, headquartered in Madrid, and other regional cooperation institutions.

    9) Spain and the Member States of CARICOM commit themselves to facilitate a closer and deeper interaction between the civil societies of both Parties. In this regard, they are pleased with the recently concluded agreements and with the negotiation process between Spain and various Member States of CARICOM, for example, the Agreements for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Air Services Agreement, Both Parties are committed to according priority to these types of agreement to facilitate trade and investment flows. In addition, Spain commits to follow with interest the negotiating processes between the various Member States of CARICOM and the EU for the waiver of visa requirements for entry into “Schengen” States.

    10) Spain and the Member States of CARICOM support the political and social evolution of Haiti and are committed to the full social and economic stabilization of the country and are pleased with its progress towards full participation in the CSME. Both Parties underlined the need for the continuing financial and other forms of support from the international community to consolidate the democratic gains made and to ensure the political and economic stabilization of Haiti. In this regard, both parties welcome the convening of the Conference on food security in Haiti, to be held in Madrid on 15 July 2008.

    11) The Governments of Spain and the Member States of CARICOM are pleased with the level of agreement reached within the United Nations and the reciprocal support in its various bodies. Spain expresses its gratitude to the Member States of CARICOM for their support to the Spanish candidature for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    12) Spain and the Member States of CARICOM reaffirm their commitment to the fight against organized crime, terrorism, trafficking in drugs and small arms and all forms of violence, threats which affect all countries, and they express their intention to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in this area.

    13) Spain is favorable to the signature of security cooperation agreements with CARICOM countries. In this respect, both Parties express their satisfaction for the participation of Spain in the Technical Meeting of Senior Military Officers of CARICOM, held in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago on 13 and 14 June 2008, and agree to continue strengthening relations in this field.

    14) CARICOM and Spain express their mutual satisfaction at the participation of the countries of CARICOM in the 2008 Zaragoza International Expo and the existence of a common CARICOM Pavilion at that event and consider the EXPO a valuable medium for the promotion of the Caribbean countries as a tourist and business destination. CARICOM expresses its appreciation of the cooperation of Spain in facilitating the participation of its Member States in the International Expo.

    15) The Heads of State and of Government of CARICOM and Spain support the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative within the framework of United Nations efforts, as an instrument for cooperation between peoples and to surmount confrontations based on religious or cultural differences. Both Parties are pleased with the staging of the Seminar on the Alliance of Civilizations in Saint Lucia on the 25 and 26 September 2006. Spain and CARICOM agree to work with the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations with a view to preparing a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding which would specify the thematic areas and the future cooperation mechanism between CARICOM and the Alliance of Civilizations..

    16) The Member States of CARICOM express their satisfaction with the upcoming visit of Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Spain, to the Region towards the end of 2008. They also express their intention to continue and increase the number of high level visits and meetings within both a bilateral and multilateral framework.

    II.   ECONOMIC RELATIONS

    1) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain reaffirm their commitment to an international rules-based trading system inclusive of specific special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies which would facilitate their integration into the global economy.

    2) Both Parties declare their support for the sustainable development of CARICOM and express their intention to explore cooperation mechanisms with the Caribbean Development Bank and the CARICOM Development Fund established by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

    3) Spain and the Member States of CARICOM declare their intention to increase trade and investment exchanges.

    4) Both Parties advocate the rational use of energy resources and will explore the possibility of collaborating to execute joint projects which favour the use of renewable energy.

    5) Both Parties are committed to continue their support of the current investment process taking place in the region, in particular in the tourism and the energy sectors. In this regard, they will favourably consider the expansion of the initiatives to embrace all CARICOM Member States, with the aim of contributing to the economic development of the receiving countries and the creation of employment.

    6) Conscious of the growing importance of sustainable tourism and the wide experience of Spain and the Member States of CARICOM in this field, both Parties will exchange their respective experiences to achieve a comprehensive development of this sector.

    7) Spain is committed to studying the financing of feasibility studies to be undertaken by Spanish companies within CARICOM in sectors of joint interest, preferably in the tourism and renewable energy sectors up to a maximum of five hundred thousand euros, charged to the Feasibility Studies Funds account.

    8) Spain agrees to study the possibility of closer future collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank. CARICOM welcomes the initiative of Spain to contribute to the Special Development Fund of the Caribbean Development Bank.

    III.   CULTURAL AND DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION

    1) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain are pleased with the outcome of the II meeting of the Joint Commission in October 2006 in Kingston. Both Parties recognise that the new agreement establishes some criteria for a more efficient Spanish Cooperation which will have greater impact on the well being of the peoples of the Region and express their willingness to continue concentrating their efforts on the priority areas outlined in the agreement of the II Joint Commission.

    2) The Member States of CARICOM recognise Spain's commitment to their sustainable development and express appreciation for the notable increases in Spanish cooperation since the III CARICOM-Spain Summit and welcome implementation of agreed projects in the areas of agriculture, agri-business, health and tourism, in particular, the imminent start of joint projects of technical assistance in sectors such as agriculture with the "Demonstration Centre for Advanced Technologies for High Yield Production", health and gender with the "Project for the Prevention and Control of Uterine Cancer", the indigenous population with "Project for Food Self Sufficiency in the Indigenous Communities of the Rupununi Savanna" and the training of the labour force and the enhancement of the economic and business landscape with the project "Regional School of Tourism".

    3) The member States of CARICOM express gratitude for the emergency aid provided by Spain in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes "Ivan", and "Dean" and look forward to further Spanish support for any future emergencies.

    4) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain commit to the conclusion in the short term of the negotiation for the establishment of the Joint Fund for Cooperation which will serve to expedite and rationalise the efforts of Spanish Cooperation with CARICOM.

    5) The Member States of CARICOM and Spain reaffirm the importance of the teaching of Spanish as the primary second language in the Caribbean, a region with strong historical and cultural links with Spain and in proximity to Spanish speaking countries. The countries of CARICOM reaffirm their commitment to the execution of plans for the teaching of Spanish at pre-university levels.

    6) Both Parties agree to study areas of cooperation on this matter, such as the creation of the posts of Lecturers of Spanish within the framework of AECI programmes, the preparation of a joint Action Plan for the promotion of the language, courses and training seminars, specializations and updating of teachers of Spanish, scholarship programs and any other cultural activity which contribute to the encouragement of the links and cultural and educational exchanges between both regions.

    7) CARICOM welcomed the creation by Spain of the posts of Lecturers in St. Kitts and Nevis and in Antigua and Barbuda and The Bahamas, additional to those already existing in Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

    IV.   TOWARDS THE V CARICOM-SPAIN SUMMIT

    Spain and the countries of CARICOM express their satisfaction with the process towards the institutionalization of dialogue between both Parties with the holding so far of four Summits, agreeing to intensify and strengthen their contacts in appropriate fora.

    The Heads of State and of Government of CARICOM and the President of the Government of Spain agree to continue with this strategic and exceptional relation, committing themselves to convening a V Summit at a venue and date to be decided by mutual agreement.

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