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Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Outgoing Chair of the Council for Foreign and Group Relations (COFCOR) on Wednesday 18 Could stated that within the prevailing world atmosphere, coordination amongst Caribbean Group (CARICOM) Member States is indispensable and significant.
Delivering remarks in the course of the opening of the twenty fifth Assembly of COFCOR which was anchored on the Georgetown, Guyana Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, Minister Courtenay stated:
“The challenges ahead are immense; the crises continue to come; the international system is in flux. Unity and firmness in our resolve are the only weapons we have.”
He stated although CARICOM Member States might not at all times agree on frequent positions, they at all times interact and respect differing views.
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“That is a solid foundation on which our Caribbean Community must rest, and we should not take it for granted,” Minister Courtenay advised.
The Belizean Foreign Minister stated the previous twelve months throughout which he chaired the COFCOR was “exceptionally challenging.”
Elaborating, he highlighted geopolitical tensions and the erosion of multilateralism, the scenario in Haiti punctuated by the assassination of the President Juvenal Moïse, the battle in Ukraine, and the worrying financial outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Past these clouds of gloom, he stated there are “silver linings” that embody measured success from CARICOM’s constant advocacy for entry to concessional growth financing and for the consideration of the peculiar vulnerabilities of Small Island Creating States (SIDS).
“We have long been advocates for reforming access to development financing to take account of our vulnerabilities as SIDS … The IMF launched a Resilience and Sustainability Trust in April with the objective of providing long term finance on highly concessional terms for low income, small developing states, and vulnerable middle-income countries. Work remains to be done on these instruments, but it is an important step in the right direction,” Minister Courtenay said.
He stated appreciable progress has additionally been made on advancing the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), which needs to be finalised by early subsequent yr.
“We must continue to build support with our donor partners, the G20 and International Financial Institutions for its uptake. It would be a game changer for accessing the financing our countries need to support recover and to build resilience,” the outgoing chair of COFCOR stated.
He additionally famous that CARICOM companions have proven “significant renewed interest” in engagement. That is marked by latest agreements for annual structured dialogue with Canada and with the European Union on the Ministerial degree.
“The United States has also promised more regular engagements including annual meetings at the level of Heads,” Minister Courtenay added noting that over the past yr, CARICOM held digital conferences with high-level US officers together with the Secretary of State, the Nationwide Safety Adviser, and the Deputy Secretary of State.
He stated engagements with Central America have additionally been enhanced, with two engagements for 2022 alone, a sign that the “two subregions are eager and ready to work together to find regional solutions to our common challenges.”
In that vein, he added that CARICOM additionally had dialogue with Colombia, including:
“These outreaches are indicative of the important role our region plays in promoting adherence to international law, respect for democracy and multilateralism. For us though, these are not fashionable issues of the day, these are core principles our foreign policies, these engagements are also indicative of the necessity of building and maintaining partnerships for cooperation which can support our integration goals.”
In a cautionary word, Minister Courtenay stated it’s in CARICOM’s curiosity and within the curiosity of the multilateral system to which it’s certain, “to resist any and all efforts to impose division in the global south.”
The outgoing chair of COFCOR really helpful a evaluate of the physique in order that it’s “agile and fit for the demanding times.”
Towards that backdrop he known as for joint conferences with different Councils to develop and deploy CARICOM’s exterior advocacy extra successfully.
Supply: Caribbean Group Secretariat
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