5 July 2012

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

In Message to Summit of Caribbean Leaders, Secretary-General Hails Strong Cooperation

between CARICOM, United Nations, Pledges More Targeted Support to Region


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the thirty-third meeting of the heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, 4 July:

The Caribbean region can be proud of its democratic tradition and history of integration and multilateralism.  You have valuable lessons to share on addressing such critical issues as the global financial crisis, climate change and transnational organized crime.

Many Caribbean countries continue to face declining revenue and high levels of debt.  Despite the region’s vulnerability to external shocks, you have made important progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. 

Climate change remains another urgent challenge and you have called attention to the specific vulnerability of small island developing States.  I congratulate your leadership in the lead-up to Rio+20, including through the efforts of a distinguished Caribbean diplomat, Dr. John W. Ashe, the Co-chair of the Bureau for the Preparatory Process of the Conference.

We returned from Rio with a firm platform to build the future we want.  Member States agreed to launch a process to establish universal sustainable development goals that will be an integral part of the post-2015 development framework.  They emphasized the importance of partnerships with civil society and the private sector.  The outcome document also provides guidance on a wide range of issues — on education and gender; on employment, decent jobs and social protection; on the green economy, sustainable consumption and production; on water, oceans and biodiversity.

CARICOM countries have also come together to help address the challenges that Haiti faced in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake — and I commend you for your solidarity.

The partnership between CARICOM and the United Nations has continued to grow stronger.  I have heard your call for increased attention to the specific needs of the Caribbean.  Together with my senior officials, we are taking steps to ensure that our cooperation is more targeted.

In July 2011, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs co-chaired the Sixth United Nations-CARICOM General Meeting.  As part of the recommendations stemming from this meeting, the Regional United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean was designated to coordinate the United Nations programmatic assistance to the Caribbean region.

In September 2011, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) launched the Caribbean Development Round Table, in parallel with efforts to enhance the functions of the Caribbean Development and Coordination Committee.

In February, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the first Caribbean human development report, Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security. 

And in April, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) met with the CARICOM Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in New York to present a new regional initiative and explore the possibility of re-establishing a presence in the region.

Through all of these efforts and more, we will continue to be your partner in promoting the full realization of security, development and human rights for all.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record