Economy January 20, 2016 | 10:47 am

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Seventh ACS Summit to take place in Cuba

Petionville, Haiti,January 19th, 2016 – The city of Petionville, Haiti, welcomed Ministers ofForeign Affairs, Vice Ministers, Ambassadors and other delegations, as well asthe representatives of international organizations attending the 21st OrdinaryMeeting of the Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States(ACS), convened on January 19, 2016.

President of theRepublic of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly, accompanied by HisExcellency Paul Evans, paid a visit to the Meeting and warmly welcomeddelegates to his country.

Participating in themeeting in their capacity as Ministers and Secretaries of Foreign Affairs, werethe Honorable Fredrick A. Mitchell, The Bahamas; His Excellency Mr.BrunoRodriguez Parrilla, Republic of Cuba; the Honorable Carl Barrington Greenidge,Republic of Guyana; the His Excellency Andres Navarro, Dominican Republic; theHonorable Alva Romulos Baptiste, St Lucia, and the Honorable Moses Dennis,Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.

His Excellency LenerRenauld, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Haiti, in his capacity asChairman of the Ministerial Council inaugurated the Meeting´s proceedings. Inhis opening remarks, he referred to the Fifth Summit of the ACS stating thatthis Summit had served as a catalyst for the revitalization of the ACS after somany years. He further praised the Association on their performance and tookthe opportunity to publicly acknowledge the work of the Secretary General andhis team at the ACS Secretariat for their dedication to strengthening tiesamong the countries of the Greater Caribbean, through joint strategies forcooperation that contribute to sustainable development.

H.E. Alfonso Múnera,Secretary General of the ACS, in his opening remarks, conveyed his gratitude tothe Government of Haiti for their excellent leadership throughout 2015 andadded that he considered this meeting to be of tremendous significance in lightof the issues that were discussed.

There was overallconsensus that the Association has yielded extremely positive and concreteresults for the benefit of Member Countries. Similarly, the delegationsapplauded the Secretary General for his decisive leadership in the process to revitalizethe Association.

In his report, theSecretary General highlighted the significant achievements of the ACSSecretariat, including the advancements made by the Directorates for TradeDevelopment and External Economic Relations, Transport, Sustainable Tourism andDisaster Risk Reduction with respect to the Work Program and Plan of Action ofPétion Ville, adopted during the 5th Summit of the ACS Heads of State and/orGovernment. During his presentation, the Secretary General further pointed outthat the Secretariat has fulfilled more than eighty percent of the mandatesestablished in said Plan of Action.

Of significanceimportance, was the dialogue on the sustainability of the Caribbean Seapertaining to the recommendations resulting from the I Symposium of theCaribbean Sea Commission which was held from 23rd – 24th November, 2015 in Portof Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Ministers and Heads of Delegationsmade a joint decision for the continued strengthening of the protection andpreservation of the Caribbean Sea and approved the implementation of therecommendations put forward by the Symposium.

Following thesediscussions, the Government of France, pursuant to their hosting of the COP21in Paris last December, took the initiative and presented to their counterpartsa draft proposal on the treatment of the Sargassum Seaweed which has become anoverwhelming threat to many Caribbean islands which depend on ‘sun, sea andsand’ tourism.

The Government of Cubawas elected Chair of the Ministerial Council for the period 2016, and HisExcellency Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla took pleasure in announcing that Cubawould be hosting the VII Summit of Heads of State and/or Government in June2016.

Decisions were also betaken for the appointment of the Special Committees of Trade Development andExternal Economic Relations, Colombia, Transport, Jamaica; Sustainable Tourism,Nicaragua; Disaster Risk Reduction, Mexico, and Budget and Administration,Cuba, as well as the Council of National Representatives of the Special Fund,Panama, for the period 2016-2017.

Furthermore, theDirectors of Sustainable Tourism, Mr. Julio Orozco Perez; Trade Development andExternal Economic Relations, Alberto Duran Espaillat received extensions for anadditional two years.

The Government ofPanama, represented by Her Excellency H.E. Maria Luisa Navarro made apresentation on their initiative of a Humanitarian Hub for the GreaterCaribbean, given their strategic position in Central America.

Representatives ofObserver Countries, vis-a-vis: Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Finland, India, Kingdomof the Netherlands, Korea, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Turkey and Serbia, as well asseveral regional organizations, vis-a-vis: the Association of CaribbeanCommissioners of Police; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); InternationalOrganization for Migration (IOM); Latin American and Caribbean Economic System(SELA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) were also inattendance.

The organization’sbudget and work program for the biennium 2016-2017 were approved by theMinisterial Council. Moreover, the International Organization for Migration andthe Republic of Belarus were both accepted as Observers to the Association ofCaribbean States, bringing the total number to 24.

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