7 July 2004
Successful Cooperation among Caribbean Countries an Inspiring Model for other Regions, Says Secretary-General in Message to CARICOM Meeting
NEW YORK, 6 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the twenty-fifth meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Grenada, 4-8 July, delivered on 5 July by Anwarul K. Chowdhury, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States:
I am delighted to send my warmest greetings to the Heads of Government of CARICOM taking part in this twenty-fifth meeting.
The successful cooperation that has emerged among CARICOMs 15 member States can serve as an inspiring model for other regions and developing countries, in particular among islands and coastal nations around the world. CARICOM is a fine example of how regional collaboration can enhance trade and economic growth, and above all, create conditions for better understanding among nations. It can be instrumental in bringing about the peace and stability and attaining the Millennium Development Goals -- critical elements of the Millennium Declaration agreed by all governments as a blueprint for building a better world in the twenty-first century.
I know that the members of CARICOM are making significant contributions in preparation for next years 10-year review of the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. The review meeting in Mauritius will take up critical issues, including the spread of HIV/AIDS -- a challenge of particular and pressing concern in your region. The Caribbean has some of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, and the epidemic is taking a devastating toll on development. I hope you will take every measure necessary to respond in a way commensurate with the threat, and commensurate with the Millennium Development Goal that calls for halting and beginning to reverse the spread by 2015. The United Nations will do all it can to assist you in that mission.
Across the full range of challenges facing our organizations, the UN will continue to pursue close ties with CARICOM -- in keeping with the cooperation agreement of 1997, and as reaffirmed in this years Third General Meeting of the UN and CARICOM in New York. But although the United Nations will keep working with you in confronting the many issues ahead, the answers must first and foremost come from within the Caribbean region itself. CARICOM provides an excellent forum in which to formulate them. In that spirit, I look forward to an ever stronger partnership between us in the years to come, and wish you a most successful meeting.
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