- Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada;
- Senator, the Honourable Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration of Belize, and Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR);
- Other Ministers and Heads of Delegations of CARICOM Member States;
- Senior Officials.
I am pleased to see this Second Meeting of the CARICOM-Canada Foreign Ministers’ Group taking place. I anticipate a successful Meeting, which will no doubt contribute to the further strengthening of the close ties between CARICOM and Canada.
Our Member States place great value on this special relationship that has been forged with Canada, and the excellent spirit of cooperation that has been its hallmark. Our discussions this morning will allow us to explore avenues where we can enhance cooperation even further.
Co-Chairs, Honourable Ministers, the world is contending with instability and uncertainty of war, climate change and a pandemic. It is particularly challenging for Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS), such as CARICOM Member States. It is therefore appropriate these crises that frame our discussions today around multilateral cooperation and building a resilient and sustainable economic recovery.
The inaugural Meeting underscored the need to take meaningful action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated the importance of collective action against climate change. These areas continue to be of outmost priority for CARICOM.
Climate Change remains the single biggest threat to the sustainable development of the Region. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have been clear, that an increase in global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels will see widespread and irreparable consequences for SIDS.
It is expectation that the focused dialogue today will result in the adoption of clear and concrete strategies that can only further enhance an already mutually beneficial partnership.
I thank the Government of Canada for the excellent arrangements for this Meeting. I also acknowledge the effective collaboration process among the Senior Foreign Officials of CARICOM Member States and the Secretariat along with the Senior Foreign Officials of Canada, which has helped to bring Ministers together today. We anticipate that that this collaboration will continue to grow in the same collegial atmosphere as we seek to implement agreements arising out of the discussions. I look forward to a very productive session.