Antigua and Barbuda’s Foreign Affairs Minister E.P Chet Greene has told a special meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations in the Bahamas that collective action must be taken to tackle the issues of climate change, trade rules, international terrorism, and most recently pandemics can only be resolved through global cooperation.
Greene was speaking at a Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government which ends in Nassau on Thursday.
Greene and Prime Minister Gaston Browne are attending the gathering.
“We live in a world that is more interconnected and interdependent to an unprecedented degree thanks to the acceleration in technology and globalization. With this has come an increasing awareness that global problems such as climate change, trade rules, international terrorism, and most recently pandemics can only be resolved through global cooperation,” he said.
He said for collective action has been offset by rising tensions among the major powers as well as by their efforts to take back control from multilateral and supranational organizations by taking unilateral initiatives on sensitive geopolitical and geo-economic issues.
“Our Meeting today provides us with an opportunity to engage with some of our key development partners. As small states, we recognize that multilateral and international cooperation is critical to the establishment of an equitable and sustainable world. Collaboration with our international partners allows our countries to combine our efforts to support mutual interests and achieve common goals. I anticipate that our engagement today will be fruitful, contribute towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Community, and advance our shared objectives,” Greene explained.
Furthermore, he said, as the world continues to recover from the havoc that the COVID-19 Pandemic has wrought on our societies, we must acknowledge the vulnerabilities further exposed in our small states during these challenging years.
“Food security, healthcare, and transportation, among other issues, have been prioritized by the Community to ensure an improved standard of living for the People of our societies and address pervasive inequalities,” he added.
Although, not part of the formal agenda Greene raised the issue concerning the crisis in Haiti.
He told those fathered that the Government and People of Haiti continue to face daunting circumstances as the crisis in Haiti worsens and the Community remains steadfast in supporting Haitian-led solutions to the complex issues impeding the country’s development.
“Joint efforts with our international partners are essential to the achievement of this goal”, he added.
Meanwhile, Greene also presided over the COFCOR meeting in the Bahamas.
“…We are operating in a world that continues to grapple with the overwhelmingly negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has all but derailed any measure of progress made by developing countries in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
Saying,, that CARICOM is highly appreciative of the initiatives of the Biden administration aimed at driving growth in the hemisphere, including in the small and vulnerable CARICOM Member States.
“We will continue to need the US’ support in climbing out of the disastrous effects of the pandemic and as we seek to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Economic recovery is critical for our Member States. For this reason, our countries maintain that vulnerability must be a primary factor in determining access to concessional financing. Our small size, small markets, and the frequency and intensity of natural disasters to which we are prone are inherent characteristics of the unique development challenges that continue to assail us,” he said.
Adding, “our small, vulnerable economies require a more relevant criterion for assessing our eligibility for development assistance. The United States’ influential voice in the international donor community in support of the development of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) would be a tremendous boon for CARICOM Member States,”
He said, the bilateral relationship between CARICOM and the United States remains solid. Our countries have shared values and principles in respect of multilateralism, good governance, respect for the rule of law and peace and security. CARICOM looks forward to continued collaboration in these areas of shared interest.
“This High-Level Dialogue affords the opportunity to exchange our views on ways to enhance our relations. It offers us an opportunity to explore an institutional framework which can deliver more tangible results for our mutual benefit,”, according to Greene.