EU, CARIFORUM launch specific dialogue on climate change

09:02, May 18, 2010      

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The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the European Union (EU) held their 4th summit in Madrid on Monday, aimed to strengthen and extend bilateral cooperation against such global challenges as climate change and natural disasters that affect the Caribbean region in particular.

The heads of state and government agreed that the challenge of climate change and the loss of biodiversity are of particular relevance to the wider Caribbean region and agreed on the need to increase cooperation in that field.

They recognize the need for stronger action, and long-term cooperation that should include perspectives on safe and sustainable development, climate-safe paths and reduced climate change vulnerabilities. Following the Copenhagen summit, the parties desire to reach an ambitious, fair and comprehensive agreement at the Cancun climate summit.

They confirmed the organization of a high-level EU-Caribbean conference on climate change, to be hosted by the European Commission ahead of Cancun.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced the launch of a specific EU-CARIFORUM dialogue dedicated to climate change, as well as a bilateral summit on this issue during the second six months of this year.

Secretary-general of CARIFORUM Maxine McClean said that the Haiti earthquake in January "is proof and an example of the tough reality of climate change."

McClean, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs for Barbados, added that the whole economic development strategy for the region should be carried out "taking into account" the significance of global warming for developing countries.

The leaders also reconfirmed their commitment to the reconstruction of Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January this year. In that regard, they agreed to fully support the implementation of the Haitian government's Action Plan for National Recovery and Development, which was endorsed at the UN International Donors Conference on Haiti, held in New York in March.

The two sides commended the new impetus given to the CARIFORUM- EU partnership by the launching of the high-level political dialogue in Kingston in March 2010, while giving a welcome to the initial joint stakeholders' consultations in Barbados, and noting the importance of the deliberations in those fora on a wide range of topics related to the CARIFORUM-EU relations.

In a joint communique issued after the summit, the EU leaders underlined the progress achieved to date in the CARICOM integration process and other ongoing sub-regional integration and cooperation processes, and reaffirmed their commitment to increasing progress and cooperation on this issue.

They exchanged views on ongoing priorities including the establishment of a Caribbean Infrastructure Trust Fund, advancing EPA implementation and other ways to address the current trade- related, economic and social challenges facing the Caribbean region, as well as opportunities for CARIFORUM-EU cooperation on innovation and technology, including in the pursuit of food security in this region.

CARIFORUM is a group made up of 18 Caribbean countries that was created in 1992 to facilitate the administrative aspects of the funds assigned to the region by the European Development Fund (EDF) , among other issues.



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