Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett has urged member states to pursue focussed, coordinated diplomacy.
She spoke at the opening ceremony of the two-day, Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations.
The event opened in Kingston, Jamaica.
“In a world where multi-lateral rules-based systems are under strain, CARICOM, as small states, must rely more than ever on focused and coordinated diplomacy based on those principles on which we are founded,” Barnett advised.
“We must bolster our relations with like-minded states and continue to advocate for multilateralism, including a reformed United Nations,” she said.
Barnett observed that the Jamaica meeting was occurring amid an international order burdened by several overlapping and mutually reinforcing global crises.
She said they included the negative economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and divisive and challenging geopolitical issues undermining multilateralism.
The CARICOM Secretary-General also mentioned the unjust impact of climate change on Small Islands and Low-lying Coastal Developing States that have not contributed to climate change.
“It is our responsibility to do the best we can to build resilience to the impact of climate change,” she told the event.
“At the same time, we must continue to advocate to ensure that those that caused – and continue to cause – climate change, do much more to moderate their impact and meaningfully support the resilience and recovery of those countries, like ours, which bear the greatest burden of climate change,” Barnett asserted.
“In this environment where geopolitical balances of power are in a period of great flux, the Region’s leadership on matters of global import remains essential,” she noted.
The CARICOM official said regional states highly value the long-standing relationships forged with external partners and the excellent spirit of cooperation characterising the relationships.
“Solidarity with our partners, in a rules-based and principled context, has been mutually beneficial in the political, economic, environmental, health, scientific and technical spheres,” Barnett stated.
“We look forward to continued engagement with our trusted partners to further strengthen our collective actions,” she said.