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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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Georgetown, Guyana, 2 July 2009 - Secretary-General's message to 30th Heads of Government meeting of the Caribbean Community

It is a pleasure to send greetings to the Caribbean leaders gathered for this timely and important summit. Since the signing of the cooperation agreement between our organizations, collaboration has become increasingly productive. In the current daunting international environment, our partnership is more important than ever.

We at the United Nations are well aware of the significant impact that the economic and financial crisis is having on your people. CARICOM States are highly vulnerable to external shocks, and are among the most highly indebted in the world. The declines in foreign investment, tourism and remittance, which account for a large share of income, are of great concern. Moreover, the close links between the domestic banking sector and international banks mean that many countries are experiencing tightening liquidity, thereby reducing domestic credit and causing the cancellation of several projects.

The global community must come together to address the impact of the crisis, in particular on the poor – those least responsible for the crisis and least able to respond. We must keep global commitments on aid. We must reform and update our international institutions. And we need better real-time data on the consequences; toward that end, I will be launching a Global Vulnerability Alert System in the coming months.

Climate change is also a serious threat to the economic and physical viability of Caribbean countries. I call on Caribbean leaders to support a more integrated implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, particularly in the context of next year's mid-decade review. I also urge you to continue showing leadership in efforts to “seal the deal” in Copenhagen in December.

Crime is yet another critical challenge. Narco-trafficking can pose a serious threat to the rule of law and democratic governance. I am pleased that CARICOM and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime have developed an action plan aimed at reducing your countries' vulnerability. I am also encouraged by the shared responsibility approach articulated at the Summit of the Americas in April. Indeed, drug control and the prevention of crime and terrorism must be tackled from several angles, including development, the rule of law and security.

I look forward to continuing our cooperation on these and other issues, including strengthening human rights institutions and pursuing the implementation of CARICOM's Charter for Civil Society. Let us also make the most of key upcoming opportunities – next week's G-8 Summit in Italy and, in September, the Climate Change Summit in New York and G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. Thank you for your support, and please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.


Statements on 2 July 2009