UK-Caribbean to build strong ties around four key areas

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UK-Caribbean to build strong ties around four key areas

  1. 1. PRESS RELEASE Caribbean Community Secretariat, P.O. Box 10827, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana; Tel: 592-222-0001/0075 Fax: 592-222-0171/0095; E-mail: <carisec3@caricom.org><piu@caricom.org>; Website: http://www.caricom.orgNO: 14/2012 DATE: 22nd January 2012 UK-Caribbean to build strong ties around four key areas(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean and theUnited Kingdom have agreed to establish a new and improved strategic partnership topromote prosperity growth and development within both regions.This is in keeping with the spirit of cooperation and with the theme of the Seventh UK-Caribbean Forum - Sustainable Growth Toward Prosperity – which opened in Grenada onFriday evening.The spirit of the new strategic partnership is reflected in the 31-point action plan which wasissued at the end of the two-day political dialogue on Sunday afternoon.The action plan outlines four major areas of cooperation: economic resilience, security,climate change and sustainable development and foreign policy.With that outcome document Foreign Ministers agreed to build economic resilience throughdevelopment of practical mechanisms that will boost growth in investment, employment,production and trade opportunities that would redound to the benefit of both Regions.The UK agreed to support the efforts of the Caribbean in improving their food securitythrough efficient production and distribution measures.Perhaps the most welcome news for the Caribbean is the agreement by the UK to re-opendialogue on issues relating to the Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is threatening theCaribbean‟s tourism sector. The UK agreed that in the spirit of cooperation and in the contextof the importance of tourism to the economic development of the Caribbean, it will continuedialogue with a view to assisting the Region in mitigating any deleterious effects that theapplication of the tax may have on its economies.The Foreign Ministers also agreed to develop effective coordination mechanisms to helpadvance the fight against drugs and international crime.In the area of climate change and sustainable development the UK noted that the Caribbeanalready had a very strong voice in the international community and is poised to “give valuefor money.” Therefore Foreign Ministers agreed on the urgency of closing mitigation gaps tobring global temperatures well below 2oC or below 1.5oC above preindustrial levels.As it relates to foreign policy, the Foreign Ministers agreed to work together in internationalfora to tackle pressing socio-political and security issues which threaten international peaceand security. Page 1 of 6
  2. 2. The full text of the Action Plan is appended below: SEVENTH UK-CARIBBEAN FORUM FINAL ACTION PLAN 22 January 201222 January 2012ACTION PLANAt the Conclusion of the Seventh Ministerial UK-Caribbean Forum held in St. Georges,Grenada, Ministers Agreed:Economic ResilienceTo establish a new strategic partnership between the countries of the Caribbean and theUnited Kingdom to promote prosperity and build economic resilience through thedevelopment of practical mechanisms which will enhance growth in investment,employment, production and trade opportunities to the benefit of the Caribbean and the UK;To continue to work together to ensure that UK Aid to the Caribbean achieves optimumdevelopment results.To explore all avenues, including the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA),to improve access for Caribbean exports of goods and services, via policy frameworks. Thesewould include taking concrete steps to, inter alia, attain international standards, reducebureaucracy, facilitate business travel, and increase levels of innovation.To promote the development of the services sector through increased facilitation of serviceproviders, consumers and cooperation among public and private sector partners, includingBusiness Support Organisations, recognizing the fundamental importance of growth in this Page 2 of 6
  3. 3. sector for the social and economic development of both the United Kingdom and theCaribbean.To continue to build the capacity and enhance the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.To work to stimulate improvement in the investment climate, with attention to theregulatory framework and, through reform, to stimulate greater competition in order toattract greater levels of both domestic and foreign investment.To support the efforts of the Caribbean countries to improve their food security and theresilience of their food and agricultural sectors, through measures aimed at enhancing theefficiency of production and distribution systems and the economic security of producers.To continue dialogue on issues relating to the APD, in the spirit of cooperation and in thecontext of the importance of tourism to the economic development of the Caribbean, with aview to assisting the region in mitigating any deleterious effects that the application of theAPD may have on its economies.To work together to ensure that final EU decisions on the proposals for Improving the Impactof EU Development Policy and on the Future Approach to EU Budget Support are appropriateand take into account the particular needs of the Caribbean”.To work together to make the case in international fora that, notwithstanding theircategorisation as middle income countries, the Caribbean nations are highly vulnerable toexogenous shocks and natural disasters due to their small size, limited human, technical andfinancial resources, high-indebtedness and exposure to the effects of climate change.To agree that the UK will engage the Caribbean in advance of G20 and OECD meetings toobtain an appreciation of Caribbean concerns so as to ensure that the decision- making inthese bodies takes account of the special and particular circumstances of the small,developing Caribbean states.To work together on migration and its proper management and to raise greater awareness ofthe positive contributions made by immigrants in the areas of social, political and economicdevelopment.To work towards the increased engagement of the Caribbean diaspora in order to fosterinvestment, the expansion of markets for goods and services and to encourage opportunitiesfor innovation and entrepreneurship.SecurityTo look to develop, during 2012, effective coordination mechanisms to help take forward ourpartnership in the fight against drugs and international crime, including through theestablishment of a UK-Caribbean Expertise Exchange Mechanism to promote best practices onsecurity issues across the region.To enhance collaboration and coordination in the fight against illegal drug trafficking amongthe Caribbean, the UK and its Overseas Territories through regional initiatives, greater Page 3 of 6
  4. 4. intelligence sharing, and targeting the proceeds of crime and support the Caribbean toengage more effectively with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).To establish, in full collaboration with the United States of America, a regional network ofland- based law enforcement units trained and equipped to a common standard. These unitswould provide a fully inter-operable regional resource to conduct land based surveillance andinterdiction operations.To work to restrict the illegal trade and availability of small arms and light weapons whichcontribute to the increasing level of armed violence and undermine stability, security anddevelopment.To remain engaged in negotiations to conclude an Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 and for thesuccessful outcome of the Review Conference of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent, Combatand Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons.To work together to strengthen the criminal justice systems in countries, including throughthe establishment of national prosecution services, modernisation of laws of evidence toinclude forensics and best practice on gathering evidence from suspects and witnesses. TheUK and the Caribbean will work with the Commonwealth Legislative Drafting Programme toassist with the development of criminal procedure/justice in the region.To share best practices and use this to strengthen efforts to reduce youth crime, gangs andviolence and improve the juvenile justice system in the Caribbean.To strengthen efforts to combat the trafficking in persons; and to keep each side apprised ofissues related to criminal deportees.To cooperate in joint efforts to protect and bolster their common land and maritime bordersand to ensure that all land and maritime borders are mutually agreed and, disputes aresettled in accordance with International Law.To continue to work together to fulfil the human rights obligations contained in the UNCharter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Climate Change and Sustainable Development23. To collaborate closely on climate change issues, recognising that current „business asusual‟ trends are likely to lead to catastrophic climate change, including warming, since thepre-industrial period of 4C or more. Preventing this is an imperative we share.24. To work together with urgency and vigour to:urgently close the ambition gap between current mitigation commitments and thosenecessary to keep long-term temperature increases well below 2C or 1.5C above pre-industrial levels;secure agreement by 2015 based on the Durban Platform for enhanced action on acomprehensive legally binding global framework, incorporating commitments commensuratewith a 2C or 1.5C threshold; Page 4 of 6
  5. 5. to ensure that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is made fully operational and begins to disbursefunds as expeditiously as possible, including to enhance climate resilience in the mostvulnerable countries;to identify sources and ensure adequate mobilisation of long-term climate finance in comingyears, and to meet the agreed goal of $100bn of additional finance, per year, by 2020;to build on and strengthen the cooperation that emerged at COP17 between the members ofAlliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the EuropeanUnion (EU); and to widen this alliance to include other like minded parties; and to use this toensure that the world delivers on the commitments made in Durban especially in relation tothe 2015 deadline for a comprehensive, legally binding agreement;to strengthen the capacity of the Caribbean countries to participate in the internationalclimate change negotiations.To act together in our own economies and societies to reinforce these goals. Actions speaklouder than words.To continue to work together to build climate resilience in the Caribbean at national andregional levels. We welcome the progress that is being made on all continents to buildclimate resilient and low carbon models for development. We will cooperate to ensure thatthe Caribbean plays a full part in this movement, and is able to take full advantage of theopportunities that are opening up.To work together in addressing the concerns of small island developing states as agreed in theBarbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation.To develop a long-term strategy to ensure energy security for the Caribbean through thegreater use of indigenous and renewable sources, given its energy supply challenges. Thiswould include technical exchanges between both sides as a matter of urgency; increasedinvestment in green technology; and the encouragement of public, private and academicpartnerships between the UK and the Caribbean to develop and utilise alternative energysources.Other Foreign Policy IssuesTo work together in international fora to tackle pressing socio-political and security issueswhich threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.To continue working together in the Commonwealth to strengthen the organisation, tosafeguard its principles and traditions for democracy, human rights, development andprosperity in all member states, by engaging in relevant post CHOGM follow up activities,including the implementation of CMAG reform.To support the principle and the right to self determination for all peoples, including theFalkland Islanders, recognising the historical importance of self-determination in the politicaldevelopment of the Caribbean, and its core status as an internationally agreed principleunder the United Nations Charter. Page 5 of 6
  6. 6. CONTACT: piu@caricom.org; caricompublicinfo@gmail.com Page 6 of 6

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