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UN Secretary General lauds CARICOM leadership on global issues

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

The Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has lauded the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for its leadership on pressing global issues.

Guterres made the statement at the opening of the 9th biennial CARICOM-UN General meeting in New York on Thursday.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the decision by the General Assembly to grant the Caribbean Community observer status. Since then, we have worked productively together and, today, our organisations are both undergoing processes of review and strategic planning to better face the challenges of a changing international reality. We are grateful to have benefited from your leadership on many pressing global issues.”

The UN Secretary General also highlighted CARICOM’s spearheading of the General Assembly’s discussion on non-communicable diseases.

“I am aware that, translating this vision into action, the CARICOM Heads of Government during their recent summit in Grenada, adopted a set of recommendations on measures to address the rise of NCDs in the region.”

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Port-of-Spain Declaration – ‘Uniting to Stop the Epidemic of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)’.

It was a launching pad for NCDs to become a feature on the United Nations (UN) Agenda, and in 2011 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a political resolution on the fight against the prevention of NCDs globally.

While the Heads of Government of CARICOM at their recently concluded 38th Regular Summit recognised that the Community had not sufficiently advanced the recommended actions with regard to the Declaration, they recommitted themselves to the promotion of healthy lifestyles to combat the epidemic of NCDs.

Guterres also described the Community as “pioneers” in elevating awareness on climate change, with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) serving as a symbol of CARICOM governments working together to address the specific vulnerability of Caribbean states.

“You have highlighted the need to protect the world’s oceans and the special circumstances of the Small Island Development States,” he said, adding that the ambitious outcomes produced from the UN Oceans Conference on SGD 14 needed concrete follow-up to ensure that all nations work together to meet their obligations.

The UN Secretary-General said he was hopeful that the meeting’s discussions would identify areas for stronger cooperation towards reaching the Community Strategic Plan’s 2019 goals of improving economic, social, environmental and technological resilience, as well as strengthening governance and coordinating foreign policy among member states.

Credit: Jamaica Observer

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