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Final Declaration Fifth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba

We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, having met in Havana, Cuba, on March 11, 2017, on the occasion of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of CARICOM-Cuba and in commemoration of the Forty-fifth Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Independent States of CARICOM and Cuba and the Fifteenth Anniversary of Cuba-CARICOM Day;

Reaffirming the Summit Declarations of Havana 2002, Bridgetown 2005, Santiago de Cuba 2008, Port of Spain 2011 and Havana 2014, and highlighting their contribution to the advancement of our political links and cooperation, materialized in the high level reached by the relations between our nations;

Acknowledge the legacy of the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz, the late Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning, the late President of Haiti René Preval, to the development of a solid relation based on sincere friendship, cooperation and solidarity.

Recognizing the need to collectively address the challenges to sustainable development, including our vulnerabilities as Caribbean countries and in particular Small Island Developing States and countries in low lying coastal areas, especially in the economic and environmental areas, and to build more just and equitable societies;

Reaffirming the decision to consolidate the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a political coordination mechanism, which promotes the unity and interests of our region in international relations and with third parties;

Affirming that the Caribbean is an inseparable part of Our America, and highlighting the role of CARICOM in the regional integration process;

Determined to continue to strengthen the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism, based on deep historical roots and founded on solidarity, cooperation and complementarity:

1. Reiterate our unrestricted respect and full adhesion to the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law, in particular respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States, peaceful settlement of disputes and the prohibition of the threat or use of force. Also, considering the integrality of human rights, reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of these rights for all;

2. Endorse the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana in January 2014, which recognizes, among others, the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system;

3. Agree to continue implementing the results of the Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Summits of Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba as a platform for closer political coordination and in other areas;

4. Recognizing the consensus achieved between the Community and Cuba for the signature of the Second Protocol to the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation, which will contribute to the strengthening of relations.

5. Reaffirm the importance of active participation of Caribbean countries in CELAC to regional unity and to the promotion of Caribbean countries´ priorities. In this regard, recognize the role of the CARICOM Chairman within the CELAC Quartet in representation of the interests of its members;

6. Recognize the importance of regional and sub-regional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, CARICOM, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE, as well as other international bodies such as the BRICS group to the economic and social development of Caribbean countries;

7. Reaffirm our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti, for which we feel a historic debt of gratitude, and a commitment to continue fostering cooperation with that nation, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and in full respect of its sovereignty;

8. Emphasize the importance of reparation and compensation for the damages caused by slavery in the Caribbean as an act of justice and, in this regard, support the work of the CARICOM Reparations Commission;

9. Express deep concern over the inclusion of CARICOM Member States in the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions of the European Union and call for a re-examination of the list based on objective criteria and taking into account commitments of countries in conformity with recognized international standards;

10. Also express deep concern and rejection of the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations with developing countries, particularly CARICOM Member States, due to de-risking actions by some of the major international banking corporations, which threatens the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socio-economic growth;

11. Emphasize the urgent and global priority of climate change and its negative implications for our societies, ecosystems and economies. In this regard, commit to strengthening cooperation within CARICOM and with other international organizations and agencies to foster greater adaptation and mitigation, strengthen resilience and reduce our vulnerability, particularly Small Island Developing States and countries with low-lying coastal areas;

12. Reaffirm the need to continue strengthening cooperation and exchange of experiences and good practices in the area of integrated disaster risk management in the Caribbean, aiming to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and all its goals by the Caribbean countries; and thus to promote the substantial reduction of disaster risk and loss of life, livelihood and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of people, enterprises, communities and countries;

13. Decide to continue cooperation on food security, nutrition and agricultural development as key pillars in the fight against poverty, including actions for implementing the CELAC Plan for Food and Nutrition Security and the Eradication of Hunger 2025 (SAN-CELAC);

14. Reiterate the call to review and modify the countries' current "graduation" criteria for Official Development Assistance, so as to adequately reflect the reality and specific needs of Highly-Indebted Middle Income Countries, particularly Caribbean States, and integrate the different dimensions of sustainable development included in the 2030 Agenda;

15. Reiterate our commitment to the protection and conservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources in the region, particularly in the Caribbean Sea. Support its designation by the United Nations as a "Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development" and support the mandate of the ACS Caribbean Sea Commission, recognized at the Fourth CELAC Summit, to promote its preservation and sustainable use. In that regard, strongly condemn the continued use of the Caribbean Sea for transit and transshipment of nuclear material and toxic waste, and urge countries that produce and transport them, to urgently implement appropriate measures to end such activities;

16. Reaffirm the commitment to promote regional energy integration as a relevant element for sustainable development and to advance the diversification of the energy matrix of our countries, oriented towards the use of clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources, and universal access to energy services that contribute to the well-being of our peoples;

17. Emphasize the importance of culture as a significant instrument in the advancement of sustainable economic development, unity, peace, education and mutual understanding between our people, and support a successful celebration of CARIFESTA XIII, to take place in Barbados on August 17 - 27, 2017. 

18. Recognize the promotion of sustainable tourism as one of the keys to economic growth in the Caribbean region, as identified in the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community 2015-2019, and agree to strengthen cooperation in this area, including multi-destination tourism;

19. Note the designation of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the opportunity this presents to create a more responsible tourism sector capable of harnessing its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental preservation. In that regard, welcome Jamaica’s hosting of the World Conference on Tourism, in November 2017.

20. Commit ourselves to continue promoting joint actions and exchanges of experience and information on security, as well as on prevention and confrontation of transnational organized crime and other new threats related to cybersecurity and drug trafficking, among others;

21. Welcome the progress in the relations between the Governments of Cuba and the United States of America. Reaffirm the call to the United States to unconditionally put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade it has imposed on Cuba for more than five decades, which is contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law. Reiterate our deep concern and rejection of the extraterritorial dimension of the blockade, as well as of the persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions. Reiterate our firm rejection of the application of laws and measures contrary to International Law, such as the Helms-Burton Act, including its extraterritorial effects. Urge the President of the United States to use his broad executive powers to substantially change the application of the blockade and the Congress of that country to proceed with its elimination;

22. Express concern about the social, economic and employment effects of mass deportation of migrants settled in countries outside the region;

23. Advocate that receiving States respect migrants´ human rights and, in particular, observe the principle that migrants should not be subjected to arbitrary detention or imprisonment, and urge these States to ensure the compatibility of their migration policies with their obligations under International Law, including respect for the dignity and requirements of these people in the processes of return to their countries of origin;

24. Express our thanks to the Government and people of Cuba for their warm welcome and hospitality;

25. Decide to hold the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Antigua and Barbuda, on 8th December, 2017.

Adopted at the Fifth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba on 11th March, 2017, at Havana, Cuba.

(Cubaminrex)





 

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