Heads of Government,
I thank you
for your gracious invitation to take part at this 25th Regular
Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) in Grenada in my capacity as the Secretary-General
of the International Meeting convened by the United Nations to
be held in Mauritius. I am honoured to respond to the request
to brief you on the preparations for the International Meeting
that would undertake the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme
in favour of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
At the outset,
allow me to pay tribute to the admirable cooperation that has
evolved among the fifteen member states of CARICOM. That is most
exemplary. Other regions and developing countries could surely
pick up the positive and relevant aspects of this worthy manifestation
of regional cooperation. Regional collaboration enhances cooperative
development and, above all, creates an atmosphere that is conducive
to better understanding among nations, fostering, as a result,
peace and stability among them.
role of CARICOM finds expression in the cooperation agreement
signed seven years ago between the United Nations and your organization.
In fact, this agreement was formalized by the General Assembly
of the United Nations with a view to enhancing the dialogue between
the UN and CARICOM. Earlier this year in April, the Third General
Meeting between our two organizations took place in New York in
which I had the pleasure of participating. Secretary General Carrington
must have briefed you on that meeting.
At this point
in time, the present CARICOM Summit is of special interest to
all of us and in particular to me in view of the explicit interest
it had expressed in the preparations for the Mauritius International
Meeting. Following the postponement by the host government, the
General Assembly had approved the new dates of the Meeting
from 10 to 14 January 2005. Last two days - 13 and 14 January
- have been identified as the Summit segment. Two days of informal
consultations are also envisaged on 8 and 9 January in case those
are needed. A civil society forum is also planned in Mauritius
immediately prior to these dates. A good number of side events
are also being planned.
amount of work has already gone into the preparations for the
International Meeting -- both organizational and substantive.
The three regional preparatory meetings of the SIDS during the
latter part of last year presented their respective inputs to
the Inter-regional Meeting in Nassau last January. As you are
aware, the outcomes of this inter-regional meeting were the Nassau
Declaration and the AOSIS Strategy Paper. After the Group of 77
and China endorsed the Paper in March, it was presented on behalf
the Group to the open-ended intergovernmental preparatory committee
meeting held during the 12th session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development from 14 to 16 April this year in New York. The prepcom
that worked under the guidance of Ambassador Don MacKay of New
Zealand as the Facilitator decided to undertake negotiations with
the Strategy Paper as the working document. The April negotiations
were prolonged and much remained to be done to reach the final
outcome. A second round of informal consultations was, therefore,
convened by Ambassador MacKay in New York from 17 to 19 May. Progress
at this round also fell far short of expectations, possibly influenced
by the shifting of the Mauritius meeting dates. Hence, a third
round of informal consultations is planned during September/October
in New York.
I have been
urging member-states to conclude their negotiations on the outcome
document for the Mauritius meeting during the upcoming round.
Of course, it is also realistic to expect that one or two issues
could be carried over to Mauritius for a final political guidance
from the leaders. Another outcome of the International Meeting
in the shape of a Political Declaration will be guided, according
to practice, by the initiative of the host country during the
With regard to the outcomes of the International Meeting,
you have expressed, as communicated by Secretary-General Carrington,
that such outcomes "are practical and respond to the real
challenges to the sustainable development of the SIDS which seem
to be increasing each year." Nothing could be more desirable.
The outcomes should also be implementable and for that we need
to prioritize the concrete actions to be undertaken in the coming
years in favour of the Small Island Developing States and to set
in place an effective implementation mechanism.
believe that the goodwill of the international community, which
these countries enjoy in general, should be duly reflected in
the Mauritius outcome having the whole-hearted and enthusiastic
support of all development partners. Let me reiterate the point
that I have been emphasizing all along. Outcome document of any
major conference may be comprehensive in terms of issues covered,
but if it does not have the full and real commitment of the development
partners --- when it comes to implementation, it may simply lie
Since it is
not possible to implement all fourteen priorities outlined in
Barbados all at once, it is important to get to prioritize immediate
and pressing issues on top of the agenda for the next few years.
Issues like HIV/AIDS, as the UN Secretary-General identified in
his message to you, security concerns, communications, trade opportunities
and market access, climate change and renewable energy should
receive special attention.
This approach in no way compromises the priorities of the Barbados
Programme of Action. But it is a strategy to achieve the maximum
possible international support to undertake what is urgently needed,
on the basis of genuine international consensus. The slowness
in the implementation process must be addressed at Mauritius.
to the level and extent of participation at the International
Meeting, let me say that the General Assembly has urged that representation
be at the highest possible level (58/213). In my communication
to member-states and UN and other organizations as the Secretary-General
of the Meeting, I emphasized the need for such high-level representation
in Mauritius. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be writing to
all heads of state or government requesting their participation.
I understand that the host government is planning to send out
I also launched
a vigorous campaign for contributions to fund the participation
of SIDS delegates to all different preparatory meetings, as well
as to Mauritius. Contributions have been forthcoming, and I hope
that by the time of the Meeting, we will be able to fully meet
the objective of financing two delegates from each of the SIDS.
communication of Secretary General Carrington, I understand that
the CARICOM Heads of Government are particularly keen on ensuring
that "the United Nations is gearing itself to assist and
facilitate the SIDS to implement the recommendations and mandates
of the International Meeting." On behalf of the Secretary-General
of the United Nations, let me reiterate that the United Nations
will continue to support the special needs SIDS in the further
implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action in the best
As far as
my Office - the Office of the UN High Representative -
is concerned, it will be closely engaged in advocacy and mobilization
of international support for the implementation of the outcomes
of Mauritius. It is obvious that these functions are intimately
linked to monitoring and follow up of the recommendations of the
International Meeting and would necessitate coordinated and integrated
follow up by the UN system as a whole.
When it comes
to monitoring, I have been advocating a more dynamic approach.
This implies that monitoring goes beyond simple stock-taking and
a cursory analysis of programme implementation at a particular
point in time. Monitoring should also lead to needed adjustments
to the designated mechanism for follow up, addressing of the resource
requirements and new initiatives that would give a further fillip
For a more
dynamic and, if I may say, purposeful monitoring, it is my view
that the intergovernmental regional organizations, like the CARICOM,
the Pacific Islands Forum and the Indian Ocean Commission should
play a wider role in the implementation of Barbados and Mauritius.
Such regional organizations are also much better placed to initiate
activities in the region. They have a better knowledge of their
regions, its resources and capacities, and the regional players
involved. With the full backing and support of the United Nations,
regional organizations can play a greater role in both monitoring
and the implementation of the prioritization articulated in Mauritius.
My preliminary discussions in this regard have encouraged me to
believe that the regional organizations would also welcome such
a greater involvement of their organizations in the implementation
process in the coming years.
Let me conclude
by thanking you again for your invitation. It is indeed an honour.
I wish you all success in your deliberation and I look forward
to your participation and leadership at the Mauritius International