TURKEYEN, Greater Georgetown, Guyana (CARICOM) — Cooperation between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will be enhanced with discussions on agriculture at the Third CARICOM Mexico-Summit being held in Merida, Mexico.
This sentiment was expressed by Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, at the opening of the summit.
According to the CARICOM Secretary-General, the discussions build on a programme of co-operation between the CARICOM Secretariat and IICA and the provision of scholarships to CARICOM nationals by Mexico, through IICA.
Citing agriculture as one of the priorities identified by the CARICOM Heads of Government in the Community’s drive towards sustainable development, Ambassador LaRocque stated
“We see food and nutrition security as a fundamental aspect of our development and a vital goal to benefit our people, and gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mexico and the role of IICA as we seek to achieve that goal and strengthen the Community’s resilience”.
Turning to the issue of climate change, which was another area of focus at the summit, Secretary General LaRocque said the ability to achieve many of CARICOM’s development goals was severely undermined by its effects. He added that unusual weather patterns and the intensity of the storms which were symptomatic of the effects of climate change, emphasised the vulnerability of CARICOM countries and their economies. He observed that climate change has demonstrated the increasing importance of focusing on comprehensive disaster management, and called for Mexico’s support, in this regard.
“We would welcome the support of Mexico in the efforts to obtain a legally binding instrument that strengthens the action of the international community against climate change and look forward to its adoption at the Twentieth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Lima, Peru, next December” the Secretary General said.
Ambassador LaRocque also said that fostering the resilience of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), must be viewed as a key objective of both the upcoming SIDS Conference in Samoa later this year as well as the global efforts in negotiations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Secretary General asked for Mexico’s support, noting that they have been supportive in other areas in the past.
“As projects in new areas such as Non Communicable Diseases and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary measures come on stream, they will benefit from the positive experience of what has gone before” he said.