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UN lauds CARICOM’s lead role on climate change, HIV/AIDS

The United Nations (UN) has lauded the lead role the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is taking in relation to Climate Change, Non Communicable Diseases and HIV and AIDS.

The most recent acknowledgement of the Community’s advocacy in those areas, came Friday morning during the brief opening ceremony of the Eighth General Meeting between CARICOM and the United Nations System at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.

In remarks to delegates at the one-day meeting, Head of the UN Delegation, Ms. Martha Doggett, Chief of the Americas Division, UN Department of Political Affairs, extended congratulations to the Community for its innovative action towards a greener and cleaner future, and its role in the battle against HIV and AIDS and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

“It is your Region which put climate change on the international agenda. More recently, CARICOM countries eloquently and pressingly called upon the world to take action to combat climate change during last September’s climate summit. And since then, CARICOM countries have continued to lead by example, with innovative commitments to a greener and cleaner future,” Ms Doggett, who is also co-Chair of the Meeting, said.

She also referred to the progress the Region was making in the area of HIV and AIDS, and voiced her expectation that a Caribbean country would be the first to announce the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of the disease.

“In 2013, UNAIDS reported that the most pronounced decline in new infections since 2001 occurred in the Caribbean. There have also been significant gains in the reduction of mother-to-child transmissions. It is expected that a Caribbean country would be the first in the world to announce that it has ended HIV transmission to babies,” she told the meeting.

However, she cautioned that much more work needed to be done in other areas, such as the inclusion of youth in economic life.

At the opening of the meeting, both Ms Doggett and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, spoke of the importance of CARICOM/UN collaboration and the timeliness of the event given the current heightened international engagement. Specific reference was made to the just-concluded International Conference for Financing and Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the post-2015 Development Agenda and the flight against climate change

The Meeting will focus on the follow-up action from the Seventh General Meeting; integration and development of the Community, Caribbean Sustainable Development which would encompass renewable energy, climate change, the environment, Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Financing for Development; Human Development and Security Challenges in the Caribbean; and UN cooperation.

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