26 September 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12495

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Committed to Working with Caribbean Community, Hard-Hit


By Climate Change, Global Financial Crisis, Says Secretary-General


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the mini-summit with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), today, 26 September, in New York:


I am delighted to join you for this mini-summit.  Thank you for your participation.


The Caribbean region is vital to the United Nations.  You are helping to advance our agenda.  We saw that clearly at this week’s summit on climate change, and the General Assembly’s general debate.


CARICOM has a great stake in realizing our common goals.  Your region has been especially hard-hit by climate change and the global financial crisis.  The world needs to hear from you.  The United Nations is committed to working with you to respond to these and other challenges.  I hope we can use this mini-summit to help chart the way forward.


CARICOM has shown exemplary leadership on the issue of climate change.  You understand the dangers faced by small island developing States.  For some Caribbean countries, your very existence is threatened.  Despite these difficulties, you are taking the path of cooperation.  Your common regional approach is a model for others.


CARICOM members will play a key role as the negotiations continue.  I welcome the proposals you have put forward, especially on the conservation of forests and the protection of marine resources.  The AOSIS [Alliance of Small Island States] Declaration adopted on Monday was an important step.


This week’s Summit brought everyone to the table in a way that only the United Nations can.  We saw serious dialogue between the major world economies and the most vulnerable ones.  The issue of financing, which is crucial for achieving a final deal, took centre stage.


Now it is up to national leaders to demonstrate global leadership.  I will count on you to continue playing this constructive role so that we can seal a deal in Copenhagen.


I am well aware of the heavy toll the global economic crisis is taking on your countries.  Oil prices are high, remittances are down, tourism is severely depressed and foreign direct investment has slowed.


There is talk of recovery -– but the impact of the crisis could reverberate for years.  Your economies are more fragile than many others.

I heard your call in June at the United Nations Conference on the Financial Crisis for comprehensive reform of the international economic architecture.  I know, as well, that you have been disappointed with the agreements reached by the G-20.


Yesterday in Pittsburgh, I advocated again for the G-20 to uphold its past pledges of assistance and reform.  I remain committed to mobilizing the entire United Nations system for initiatives that will help your region and all others:  food security, trade, disaster risk management, a greener economy and the Global Jobs Pact.


I also share your concern about the growing threat of organized transnational crime in the region.  I am deeply disturbed by reports that the Caribbean has the highest per capita murder rate in the world.


It is time to step up our response to this threat.  I welcome the cooperation between CARICOM and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  We will provide all the expertise we can to help the Caribbean to fight and overcome this problem.


Finally, let me stress the great importance we, at the United Nations, attach to progress in Haiti.  The United Nations is fully engaged.  Donors are offering support.  I am hopeful about the country’s prospects.


CARICOM’s help can make a difference, for example by including Haiti in commercial, educational and cultural exchanges.  You can also serve as a forum for addressing issues that affect Haiti’s security.


Together, we can help Haiti to achieve the lasting stability and prosperity that its people deserve.


CARICOM has important contributions to make across our agenda.  I look forward to our continued cooperation, and I will be listening closely to your ideas.


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For information media • not an official record