Port of Spain, Trinidad

4 July 2013

Secretary-General's message to the 34th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) [delivered by Ms. Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean]

I am honoured to send greetings to the leaders of CARICOM on your 40th anniversary.

For four decades, CARICOM countries have demonstrated the importance of democratic values and the strength that comes from a united voice.  You have done this with inspiring resilience in the face of external shocks, such as natural disasters and the global financial crisis.  CARICOM has also been a valuable advocate for Haiti, which successfully chaired your organization during the first half of this year.

I appreciate the contributions of CARICOM countries to numerous issues on the global agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals, climate change, the importance of addressing non-communicable diseases and the unique challenges faced by Small Island Developing States.  I also commend the important role played by CARICOM countries in the negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty. 

Your meeting is an occasion to do more than look back with pride on CARICOM’s many achievements.  We are now in the process of striving to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals before the 2015 deadline while defining the contours of a post-2015 development agenda.  I count on CARICOM to help us make the most of this historic opportunity to achieve a transformative shift for our planet and its people.

I welcome the election of a distinguished Caribbean diplomat, Ambassador John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, as President of the General Assembly.  His appointment offers a further opportunity to harness CARICOM’s expertise and experience in the service of global leadership.

The upcoming Seventh UN-CARICOM General Meeting at United Nations Headquarters will strengthen our ties even further.  More broadly, I look forward to continuing to work with you, the leaders of CARICOM, towards the full realization of security, development and human rights for the region’s people.  

I wish you a successful meeting and many more significant milestones to come.