28 July 2011

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

Secretary-General, in Message to United Nations-Caribbean Community Meeting,

Pledges Support for Small Islandsí Fight against Global Challenges


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonís message, delivered by Oscar-Fernandez Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to the Sixth General Meeting between the United Nations System and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and its Associated Institutions, in Georgetown, Guyana, today, 28 July:

I am pleased to convey my greetings to the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions, and to thank Acting Secretary-General [Lolita] Applewhaite and her team for hosting this important event.

The Caribbean Community is a key United Nations partner in achieving our shared goals of development, security and human rights.† I commend your strong commitment to multilateralism and regional integration, and your leadership on global challenges, including combating climate change, strengthening democracy, rebuilding after disasters and stopping the spread of global epidemics.† I am grateful to the Heads of Government of CARICOM for their participation in last monthís General Assembly High-level Meeting on AIDS, and I look forward to your continuing leadership at the September High-level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases.

The Caribbean region faces many challenges.† These include the negative effects of the global financial crisis, the widening impacts of climate change, and the threats to governance and public safety posed by organized crime.† Such transnational risks cannot be addressed by any single country on its own.† Rest assured that the United Nations system has heard the regionís call for more coherent engagement.† This Meeting provides a further opportunity to build on our long-standing partnership.

Our shared efforts to develop the UN-CARICOM Regional Strategic Framework have allowed us to map our activities in the region and identify areas of redundancy or duplication.† I am pleased that the recommendations contained in the final report on the Framework were fully endorsed by both the CARICOM Secretariat and the United Nations system.† Let us now work together to implement them.

The Caribbean region has made commendable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, yet those efforts face significant challenges, including the increase in fuel and food prices. †The questions of debt relief for middle-income countries and fair access to the global trading system therefore merit greater attention. †I will continue to use every opportunity to raise these issues, including with the G-8 (Group of Eight) and G-20 (Group of Twenty).

CARICOM and Caribbean countries of the Alliance of Small Island States have called attention to the specific vulnerability of small island developing States to climate change.† CARICOM countries showed great leadership in the lead-up to last yearís talks in Cancķn, and I will count on your strong voice as we prepare for the next Conference of the Parties later this year in Durban.

Finally, we must work together to address organized transnational crime and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.† We must consider this challenge not only in a regional context, but also through the prisms of development, human rights and rule of law.

Across this agenda, the United Nations system will continue to work with you to formulate strategic and effective approaches for realizing the regionís aspirations for prosperity and peace.

Please accept my best wishes for a productive meeting.

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For information media • not an official record