By Steve Thomas Observer Nevis Editor
(Basseterre, St. Kitts) ” A one-day summit between CARICOM nations and Cuba had all parties calling on developed nations to do more to manage climate change, work toward a more transparent system of international economic regulations and for an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas attended the meeting on Dec. 8, which was held in Santiago, Cuba. The regional leaders met to discuss the current economic crisis, but also took a hard look at environmental concerns. “CARICOM and Cuba must never grow weary of speaking out on issues of climate change and the unscrupulous and indiscriminate harm to the environment by some developed countries,” Dr. Douglas said. In the “Declaration of Santiago de Cuba,” CARICOM and Cuban leaders spelled out actions they want to see taken on environmental issues: – Emphasize the urgency of promoting global actions aimed at fostering the rational and sustainable use of natural resources, conserving and protecting the environment, and mitigating the effects of climate change on our countries and, in this context, reaffirm the principle of common but differential responsibility regarding the ecological debt and call upon developed countries to contribute new and additional financial resources required to implement measures aimed at adaptation to climate change and mitigation of greenhouse gases. – Call upon the international community to support, through the establishment of an international financial framework, those countries that manage and preserve their forests in a sustainable way. – Call upon the international community to support the inclusion in the post Kyoto agreement of incentives for countries with standing rainforests in acknowledgement of their important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. – Emphasize the need to invest in sustainable-renewable energy programs, and the infrastructure that would advance the objective of sustainable development of our resources and contribute to regional energy security. – Fully support the efforts being undertaken, through the Association of Caribbean States, in having the Caribbean Sea declared a “Special Area within the Context of Sustainable Development” at the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of the importance of the Caribbean Sea as an area of unique bio-diversity, a highly fragile eco-system and an essential contributor to the livelihood of the peoples in the region. In addition to environmental issues, the summit dealt with the world economy. The current international financial crisis, which had its roots in the collapse of securities based on overvalued mortgages, which in turn helped to trigger a sudden tightening of credit because financial institutions holding those securities found themselves with suddenly depleted assets, came under intense scrutiny at the meeting. The leaders called for major changes in the way international business is conducted. The declaration states: [Those at the summit] underscore the need for fundamental reform of the international financial architecture through a more transparent and inclusive process under the aegis of the United Nations, providing for the participation of developing countries in decision making and in the creation of norms to govern international economic affairs. [They] call for, in face of the crises caused by the policies followed by the industrialized countries, improved standards of regulation and supervision of international financial affairs so as to guard against future international financial and economic crisis. Prime Minister Douglas told the meeting that it was important to reach out to U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama to discuss the future of offshore financial regulations. However, the meeting spoke as one on the matter of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. “As we gather today in Cuba, the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America is still in place,” the current CARICOM chairman, Antigua’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, said. “The Caribbean community hopes that the transformational change which is underway in the United States will finally relegate that measure to history.” The United States imposed a commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed on communist government of Fidel Castro in 1962. The embargo was enacted after the Castro government expropriated the properties of United States citizens and corporations.
CARICOM, Cuba Tackle Climate Economic and Embargo Issues
By Steve Thomas Observer Nevis Editor