Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Caricom at UN

Global economy, poverty, crime to top CARICOM agenda at UN General Assembly

Prime Minister Patrick Manning will address the 64th General Assembly (UNGA) of the United Nations in New York on Saturday, joining other Caribbean leaders who are expected to speak on the themes of the global economic crisis, climate change and trans-national crime.

Guyana's Bharrat Jagdeo will lead off the roster of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) speakers when he addresses the assembly on Thursday, one day after the formal opening. Others who are listed to speak this week are the leaders of Haiti, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and the Bahamas.

The prime ministers of Belize, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will address the assembly next week.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ UN Ambassador, Camillo Gonsalves told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Monday the financial crisis is of top priority for regional governments.

"The region will debate how it’s affecting CARICOM and the need for a more equitable financial system. We will also be arguing for more funds for adoption to climate change because it is already affecting us.

"CARICOM will be calling for an Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the flow of small and light weapons. That’s going to be a major issue,” the diplomat told the CMC.

A number of CARICOM leaders, including Manning, are already in New York and will attend Tuesday’s Special UN Summit on Climate Change.

A statement from the government in Port of Spain said, "Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in this UNGA is particularly significant as we will play host the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in November.”

It added that Manning "will meet with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma while in New York to discuss matters pertinent to the meeting" adding that the UNGA will afford Manning "the opportunity for crucial bilateral meetings to take place prior to the CHOGM."

A new UN report warns that the global economic crisis continues to push millions of the world’s most vulnerable people into poverty, hunger and early death.

It says the poor in the world's developing world are not affected by the small signs of recovery. UN estimates suggest that the worldwide recession has pushed 100 million more people below the poverty line and 61 million people have been added to the number of jobless over the last two years.

The 'near poor' are becoming the ‘new poor,’” said Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro at the launch of a report called “Voices of the Vulnerable: the Economic Crisis from the Ground Up”.

Migiro said, "Workers in both the formal and informal sectors are being badly hit, particularly in manufacturing, commerce and construction...Youth unemployment is dramatically increasing.” She added that the number of unemployed youth has increased by as many as 18.2 million over the last year.

UN Secretary Generakl Ban ki-Moon, who is convening Tuesday’s Summit on Climate Change, said Heads of State and Government will focus on “the need for urgent action”.

He is urging leaders to show the highest level political, which he said will is needed “to reach a fair, effective, and scientifically ambitious global climate deal” at the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.