Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2022. 2:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: It has been 11 years since the last Caribbean Community (CARICOM)- Central American Integration System (SICA) summit, but the collaboration between the neighbours has lost momentum and this has cost residents of both areas, Prime Minister of Belize John Briceño told his regional counterparts at the opening of today’s summit in San Pedro Town.
CARICOM and SICA, he said, share common aspirations and challenges – respect for democracy, the rule of law, and multilateralism, economic development, and shared destiny.
“Our partnership therefore must be strategic; it must deliver more for the peoples of our shared neighborhood,” Briceño said.
Much has changed, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed serious fragilities which result in greater poverty and lesser access to key rights such as education.
Our region is in the crucible of geopolitical competition which threatens to divide us and deny our shared development if we allow it, he continued; we must navigate a path through the minefield that allows us to reach our collective potential.
The Summit is expected to adopt the Joint Declaration of San Pedro, with commitments to strengthen foreign policy consultation; actively collaborate on socio-economic development matters, including tourism, trade and investment; and strengthen cooperation in Climate Change and public health, among other matters.
The Heads are also expected to sign a Revised CARICOM – SICA Plan of Action adopted by Foreign Ministers of the two Regions last month, which highlights specific areas for joint dialogue and commitment to implementation, evaluation, and follow-up.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to be a Special Guest at the Summit (virtually) and is expected to engage the Heads on several matters including COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery; climate change, financing for development, and the situation in Haiti.
President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez is also expected to address the deliberations on hemispheric and regional affairs in his country’s capacity as pro tempore President of CELAC – the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
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