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UN, CARICOM Discuss Sustainable Development, Assistance Coordination and Climate Change and Security

un-caricom23 July 2013: The Seventh UN-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) General Meeting brought together representatives from over 30 UN departments, funds and programmes, as well from the CARICOM Secretariat and associated institutions. Sustainable development, climate change and security challenges were among the shared concerns highlighted.

The meeting, which convened on 22-23 July 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, was organized by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). It aimed to reinforce the existing partnership and improve cooperation between the UN and CARICOM, and took place as CARICOM marks its 40th anniversary, and ahead of the 68th UN General Assembly (UNGA), which will be presided by Ambassador John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda.

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that over the past decade and a half, the biennial UN-CARICOM meetings have provided an opportunity to assess progress in mutual cooperation, and that CARICOM countries have been pioneers in raising the world's awareness on climate change and the unique challenges faced by small island developing States (SIDS). He added that “the Caribbean's concerns are the UN's concerns,” noting common challenges, such as the need to address climate change, tackle transnational organized crime and assist Haiti in its reconstruction efforts. Ban added that the Caribbean region has long understood the imperative of implementing a holistic approach that fully integrates the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque stated that the meeting enabled regional and international technical experts to exchange views and identify concrete projects that would yield results on the ground and ensure tangible benefits for CARICOM's citizens. He emphasized CARICOM's interest in helping to elaborate the post-2015 development agenda, and ensure that the region's interests were adequately and effectively addressed. He identified the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as the “best means for attaining sustainable development in the region.” With respect to climate change, he called for reliable, accessible and sufficient climate financing through mechanisms, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF). He also anticipated engaging with the UN on a new coordination mechanism for the UN's assistance to the region, and a more effective CARICOM-UN partnership.

Addressing the closing session, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson expressed confidence that the Caribbean would play an influential role in shaping the post-2015 development agenda. The meeting was co-chaired by Martha Doggett, Chief of DPA's Americas Division, and Colin Granderson, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations. [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [CARICOM Press Release] [Statement of Deputy Secretary-General]