Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, and the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica and Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) presided over the 2023 Canada-CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Group meeting, which was held in Washington D.C. on the margins of the 2023 Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly.
Ministers reaffirmed the enduring value of the deep and dynamic partnership between Canada and CARICOM, and strengthened their commitment to sustainability, resilience, climate action, access to finance, regional security, and shared values. They underscored the need for continued vigilance in mitigating the devastating impacts of climate change, pursuing concrete action to re-build resilient and sustainable economies, cooperating on regional security, and increasing collaboration in multilateral forums, including defending the rules-based international order and promoting democracy and human rights.
Canada-CARICOM Roadmap for Action
In reviewing concrete progress on the Canada-CARICOM Roadmap for Action, Ministers noted results in key areas such as climate resilience, trade, inclusive governance, and multilateral engagement. For example, as announced by Prime Minister Trudeau in February 2023, Canada is now implementing $44.8 million in new initiatives to support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis, and the Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism completed 48 capacity building initiatives in 2022 alone.
Canada re-committed to joint advocacy for the needs of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within multilateral fora, including at the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the Organization of American States. Ministers look forward to the report of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) and welcomed future consultations on potential uses of the MVI. Ministers also discussed further exploration of reforms to the global financial architecture, including the Bridgetown Initiative and to address the specific vulnerabilities of Caribbean SIDS. They welcomed the renewal of CARIBCAN and discussed additional ways to bolster trade and investment between Canada and the region, including for a clean and green transition. Ministers underscored the need for collective and urgent action to combat climate change, including adequate climate financing for adaptation, mitigation, and resilience, and looked ahead to operationalizing the new loss and damage funding arrangement and fund. Ministers called for new joint and innovative approaches to tackle food insecurity and escalating regional security challenges; highlighting the need to collectively address the challenge of migration in the region and the desire for improved mobility between CARICOM Member States and Canada.
Ministers acknowledged that the ongoing political and security crisis in Haiti is a humanitarian challenge and de-stabilizing influence in the region, and that it must be addressed through coordinated international action and Haitian-led solutions. They re-affirmed the need for a national, inclusive political dialogue to reduce tensions in Haiti and that collective efforts towards such a dialogue must continue. Ministers summarized the key priorities for Haiti, including strengthening the security sector, supporting inclusive political dialogue, imposing targeted sanctions, and addressing humanitarian needs. They commended Canada’s coordination role with the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti and the Haitian National Police to facilitate international security assistance to Haiti. Canada welcomed CARICOM’s concrete action, including their efforts to support political dialogue, the recent appointment of an Eminent Persons Group, the extension of the Community’s good offices to the Government of Haiti and Haitian stakeholders, including the Kingston Talks hosted in Jamaica, and the offers to train Haitian police and service personnel. Ministers emphasized the need to maintain forward momentum and not lose sight of the daily impacts of the crisis on all Haitians.
Ministers agreed to continue working collaboratively towards the establishment of a permanent mechanism to deepen the strategic partnership between Canada and CARICOM, building on the Canada-CARICOM Roadmap for Action, and addressing the ongoing political and security crisis in Haiti.
• The Bahamas: Chet Donovan Neymour, Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
• Barbados: Noel Lynch, Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
• Belize: Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration
• Canada: Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
• CARICOM: Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, Secretary General
• Dominica: Judith-Anne Rolle, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy to the United States of America and Interim Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
• Grenada: Joseph Andall, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development
• Guyana: Samuel Hinds, Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
• Haiti: Dr. Jean Victor Généus, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship
• Jamaica: Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
• Saint Kitts and Nevis: Dr. Denzil Douglas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Economic Development and Investment
• Saint Lucia: Alva Romanus Baptiste, Minister of External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation, and Diaspora Affairs
• Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Lou-Anne Gilchrist, High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
• Suriname: Albert Ramdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Co-operation
• Trinidad and Tobago: Anthony Philips-Spencer, Ambassador to the United States of America and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States
June 21, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada