Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Conference on Climate Change

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) of African Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) on Monday, announced their intention to launch a joint special conference on Climate Change.

The Conference is scheduled to take place just ahead of the 16Th Conference of Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Frame Work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) scheduled for Cancun, Mexico in November.

This announcement was made in Madrid on Monday at a joint press conference following the Special Summit between the EUand CARIFORUM to discuss ways in which the bi-regional relationship between both regions could be strengthened, as both prepare for the Sixth EU-LAC conference set for Tuesday.

Chairman of CARIFORUM, Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Barbados, in endorsing the announcement stated that the meeting between both regions was extremely productive and critical to building a long standing relationship.

She noted that it was of utmost importance for both Regions to take time and take stock on how to move forward in strengthening bi-regional relations.

Priority, she stated, was given to Haiti, as that country pressed forward in its restoration programme, following the devastation of its capital by an earthquake on 12 January.

Minister McClean added that both Regions had recognised the grave importance of addressing the challenges of climate change, and in this regard had placed emphasis on finding concrete ways of dealing with those challenges. This special Summit before the actual EU-LAC Summit, she stated, had served to ensure greater clarity between the two regions, especially as it related to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

At the Press Conference, the EU was represented by the Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose country is the current President of the EU; President of the European Council, Mr Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Mr José Manuel Barroso.

Van Rompuy in his statement to the Media announced that the Joint EU-CARIFORUM Meeting had validated the Joint Strategy titled Visions for Future Partnership which outlined a way forward in bi-regional relations; collaboration on the global stage and a long term approach to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Noting the necessity of advancing the region’s Climate Change agenda, Rompuy expressed hope that the joint Climate Change conference would allow for them to build on the “little successes” from Copenhagen in order to ensure more concrete results from the Cancun Conference. He too agreed that Climate Change had become a major critical issue especially in light of Haiti’s recent disaster and disclosed that the EU had pledged to throw its full support behind that country’s restoration.

In addition, the President of the European Council gave the Union’s public commitment to advancing the regional integration agenda and to strengthen that partnership for sustainable development.

All Member States of CARICOM and CARIFORUM were represented at the Joint Meeting on Monday. Among the delegation were three CARICOM Heads of Government - Prime Minister of Dominica and CARICOM Chairman, Roosevelt Skerrit and Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive.

The Sixth EU-LAC Summit gets underway on Tuesday, 18 May, under the theme: Towards a new phase of the bi-regional association: innovation and technology for sustainable development and social inclusion.

Reprinted from Caribbean Net News‚ Tuesday, May 18, 2010