CARICOM and the Republic of Korea held their first high-level meeting in Jamaica on Monday with agreement on a number of areas for closer cooperation.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting the two sides committed to further strengthen their ties of friendship and spirit of cooperation. They also agreed to reinvigorate a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism which was established in 2006 to guide future CARICOM-Korea political and economic relations.
In relation to some key issues before the meeting, the delegates underscored the serious impact of climate change and global warming especially on Small Island and low-lying Developing States (SIDS) like those in the CARICOM Region. They committed to work together to enhance capacity building and knowledge sharing, while exploring avenues for cooperation on projects aimed at combating climate change and its impacts. They also acknowledged the CARICOM Region’s ongoing high dependence on imported fossil fuel and agreed to work together to promote cooperation in the field of sustainable energy.
The CARICOM side thanked Korea for its ongoing technical assistance including through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Fellowship Programs, the ‘Improving the Structure of Governance in the Caribbean Community’ Project, the CARICOM E-Government project, and financial support for CARICOM Electoral Observer Missions.
CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, in her address to the Opening Ceremony, urged Korea’s assistance in utilizing its influential voice in international fora to advocate on behalf of CARICOM on the issue of graduation of CARICOM Member States to the status of middle income countries and the resulting loss of access to concessionary financing for their development programmes.
The Republic of Korea’s delegation was led by First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lim Sung-nam.