By Dana Niland
As the Caribbean Community enters the new year, incoming CARICOM chairman and Haiti President Jovenel Moïse is moving to create the first climate resilient region in the world.
He highlighted the rebuilding process after the hurricanes of last September, as well as Hurricane Matthew, which pounded the region on October 3-4, 2016.
“The absolute necessity to create a climate-smart region is clear given the effects of climate change which have brought us droughts, mega hurricanes, heavy floods and unusual weather patterns, all of which adversely affect our development,” Moïse said.
“The social and economic gains that we have made individually and collectively must be protected against the onslaught of nature,” he continued. “CARICOM Member States’, as well as the region’s non-member States’ production of greenhouse gases, is practically nil, even though they bear a disproportionate share of the consequences.”
He pointed to the goodwill and pledges which the region has received from the international community as sources of hope for the continued support of its objectives.
“Our efforts are against the backdrop of the Caribbean Community Strategic Plan for the period 2015-19, which is our guide towards the economic, social, environmental and technological resilience that is needed to produce sustained growth and development for our Community,” he said.
The chairman announced his intent to increase the community’s efforts to become more effective at providing a basis for economic growth, with many of the major legislative and administrative measures for the operations of the single market already in effect.
“This would enable us to increase our intra-regional trade, share our best human resources, and encourage our entrepreneurs to expand their interests and provide us with a platform to move from market access to market presence in those countries with which we have trade agreements,” Moïse said. “The CSME undoubtedly remains our best vehicle for creating the economic resilience we need.”
“The reform process underway in our community will allow us to conduct our affairs more efficiently and effectively and will also benefit the operations of the CSME Our Member States, Regional Institutions and the Secretariat have been streamlining their interactions to produce the best possible results from the decisions taken by the Heads of Government and the Ministerial Councils. With assistance from all, we shall maintain our Community on a path to sustainable development and a safe, secure, viable and prosperous society,” he said. “Among issues I intend to advance during my tenure will be those related to natural disasters and climate change.”
Haiti will host CARICOM for the 29th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government this year.