March 1st, 2017
Havana will host, from March 8 to 11, three important events for regional cooperation and collaboration: the 22nd Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS); the 1st Cooperation Conference of the ACS and the 5th Caricom-Cuba Ministerial Meeting.
During a press conference, the Acting Director-General for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Cuban Foreign Ministry Carlos Rafael Zamora announced details of these events, which will once again place Cuba in the epicenter of the Caribbean.
Thus, the 22nd Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the ACS —an intermedia event between the bi-annual Summits of the ACS— will be the last action during the pro tempore presidency of Cuba.
The work agenda of the regional meeting includes, as an important issue, the revitalization process of the ACS, which has been the center of Cuban management, Zamora added.
This revitalization is aimed at reviewing the experiences and mechanisms of the Association, for adapting them, after 23 years of the creation of the regional group, to the new circumstances, he explained.
Other topics that have priority on the agenda will be those related to the activities of the principal groups of the ACS: tourism, transportation, international economic relations, disasters and the commission of the Caribbean Sea, mandated by the United Nations for the preservation of the Caribbean as Patrimony of all the countries circumscribed to it.
Likewise, the renewal of the directives of the Council of Ministers and of the different bodies that make up the ACS, will be carried out.
This meeting will take place at a different situation than the one that existed when Cuba took the Chair of the Association during the last Summit, also held in Havana from June 2 to 4, 2016 -— Zamora explained—, because new governments have been established in the Region and there have been changes in the economic and political circumstances which affect the revitalization process.
The Association is composed of 25 member states and eight associated states, as well as different founding organizations like the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the so-called Group of Three (Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela,) the Latin American Integration System, among others. In addition to 24 observer countries, the number of which may be expanded at this Meeting by including new nations that have requested it, like Japan. So, nearly 80 delegations will participate, Zamora said.
The event will take place on March 10, though it will have a preparatory meeting of Senior Officials, which will be held on the 9th.
The 1st ooperation Conference will be held on March, before to the meeting of the Council of Ministers and as part of the revitalization process of the ACS. During the Conference, the member countries and observers and special guests will assess the mechanisms and projects that are developed regarding exchange and collaboration.
This 1st Conference will focus on confronting climate change, as well as the transportation and connection of the area by air and sea. Further events of this type will include the remaining lines of cooperation that ACS is boosting, like tourism, trade and facing up to natural disasters.
Zamora also explained that Cuba, from its pro tempore presidency, has been strengthening the Caribbean cooperation, both external and internal. This conference is a step forward in this projection and it´s hoped to turn it into a systematic scheme that will be held every year, he added.
As a country, "we have called for broader solidarity with Haiti, which is one of the most vulnerable and one of the worst affected by climate change and natural disasters in the region," he said.
Nearly 80 delegations will be invited to the event, including all observer countries and member states, different international organizations and other nations that, “can contribute to the region because of their development and capacity.”
Finally, on Saturday 11, the 5th Caricom-Cuba Ministerial Meeting will be held, which will review the comprehensive relations of Cuba with all the countries that make up the Caribbean Community.
The Acting Director-General of Latin America and the Caribbean said that there is a growing development of ties with the Caribbean states, as it will be evident in the coming days. All these activities will be held at the Habana Libre Tryp Hotel in Havana.
Translated by ESTI