Secretary-General's remarks at the Seventh UN-CARICOM General Meeting
New York, 22 July 2013
Welcome to the United Nations. I am pleased to join you for this important gathering, the seventh UN-CARICOM general meeting.
Over the past decade and a half, these biannual UN-Caricom General Meetings have provided an excellent opportunity to assess progress in our mutual cooperation.
This is a special year for CARICOM – your fortieth anniversary. Through the years, CARICOM has demonstrated the strength of a united voice and a common vision in shaping the future of the region.
At the United Nations, we are grateful for your leadership across the range of our work. CARICOM countries have been pioneers in raising the world’s awareness on climate change and the unique challenges of Small Island Developing States.
Thanks to the advocacy of CARICOM, the General Assembly focused on the importance of treating and preventing non-communicable diseases. The region also has been in the forefront of global efforts to commemorate the anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
The United Nations is proud of our partnership with CARICOM. We are committed to strengthening it even further in the years ahead.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
The concerns of the Caribbean are the concerns of the United Nations.
Climate change is a reality we must face. I have placed it at the top of my agenda. Even though no country is immune to climate change, the Caribbean is feeling its impact more strongly than many other parts of the world. Severe storms and rising sea levels have already taken a heavy toll on many island nations.
We must work together for sustainable development. This calls for transformative shifts in our economies and societies and this must be reflected in the Post-2015 development agenda. The world needs action that fully integrates the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability. The imperative of this holistic approach has long been understood by the Caribbean region.
I also share your concern about the growing threat of transnational organized crime. This is a complex challenge and I welcome the ongoing discussions between CARICOM and the UN system to support the region’s security strategies and complement the ongoing efforts to eradicate this scourge.
I would also like to highlight CARICOM’s key role throughout the negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty. I want to salute the region’s commitment and the high number of Caribbean countries that have already signed the Treaty and pledged the quick ratification of this important instrument.
I am also grateful for your solidarity and advocacy for Haiti. I commend Haiti for its successful Chairmanship of CARICOM during the first half of 2013.
The United Nations continues to work in support of the Government of Haiti in its reconstruction efforts and the strengthening of its institutions. To lead these efforts, it was my great pleasure to appoint a distinguished Caribbean diplomat, Ms. Sandra Honoré, to serve as my Special Representative in Haiti and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). I have no doubt that SRSG Honoré’s solid experience and professional capacities will be an asset for the implementation of MINUSTAH's mandate.
Mr. Secretary-General of CARICOM, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
The Caribbean is a vibrant region, rich in democratic values, cultural diversity, natural resources and strong visionaries. More and more Caribbean nationals are active in the international sphere, bringing out distinctive Caribbean qualities and values.
The election of Ambassador John W. Ashe as the President of the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations is a prime example.
I have had the privilege of working with Ambassador Ashe over the years. I am certain that he will help the General Assembly advance in vital areas such as climate change, renewable energy, the post-2015 development agenda and next year’s International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
I know that you will now begin in-depth discussions around these and other issues and review current cooperation mechanisms between the United Nations and the CARICOM Secretariat and its associated institutions.
I am confident that this Seventh General Meeting will go a long way in further strengthening our partnership. I wish you a most productive meeting.