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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Mexico will join forces to help in the reconstruction of Haiti in the medium and long-term, particularly in the area of health and the provision of tents and shelters.
In a Declaration issued at the conclusion of the first Mexico-CARICOM Summit held in Mexico on 21 February, the Heads of State and Government of Mexico and CARICOM acknowledged the urgent need to contribute to the international cooperation efforts to reconstruct Haiti and to ensure its long-term development.

CARICOM and Mexico will jointly review and harmonize cooperation plans and programmes to “take advantage of our joint capacities to provide aid and assistance for the reconstruction of Haiti in the medium and long term according to the needs, interests and priorities of the Haitian government and in conjunction with existing aid efforts at the regional and international levels,” the Declaration said.

The Community and Mexico also will give the highest joint priority to strengthening aid and reconstruction efforts, particularly with regard to health, in the emergency and post-emergency stage. The assistance will be undertaken in conjunction with the private sector and civil society organizations.

CARICOM has identified health as its niche area of intervention in Haiti.

The recently-created CARICOM-Haiti Support Unit and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will benefit from Mexico’s input in the design of a regional strategy for dealing with crisis situations caused by natural disasters.

In a separate Declaration, CARICOM and Mexico called for increased cooperation in the region towards understanding and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change and sought the establishment of links between the Belize-based Caribbean Community Centre for Climate Change (CCCCC) and the Government of Mexico.

Pointing out that the impacts of climate change on the region will intensify, the Summit statement regarded the December 2009 Copenhagen Agreement as a “significant step” towards the implementation of the Bali Action Plan. The two parties also stressed the need to continue negotiations within the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the Bali Action Plan, and called on all states to become constructively involved in the negotiations and to build on the results of Copenhagen.

While the Heads of State and Government welcomed the fact Mexico will host the 16th Conference of Parties to the Convention (COP) and the Sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 6), they agreed on the importance of ensuring that the COP 16 results were legally binding.

The Heads of State and Government said that the Summit, which was held in the Mexican Riviera Maya, would be the starting point for more productive bilateral relations.

They have acknowledged that reinforcing trade, investment, tourism and cultural relations will contribute to the sustainable development of CARICOM Member States and Mexico.

In an effort to increase economic relations between Mexico and CARICOM, the Heads of State and Government agreed that CARICOM would organize an economic seminar during the second half of 2010 to identify business niches and investment opportunities.

Youth and crime were among the other matters dealt with at the Summit.

The Second Summit is scheduled to be held in Barbados in 2012 to follow up the adopted agreements at the highest level.

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