As the region rebuilds after the devastating hurricanes over the past two years, Haiti’s President and incoming Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chairman Jovenel Moїse says it is doing so with the aim of creating the first “climate resilient” region in the world.
“The absolute necessity to create a climate smart Region is clear given the effects of climate change which have brought us droughts, mega hurricanes, heavy floods and unusual weather patterns, all of which adversely affect our development. The social and economic gains that we have made individually and collectively must be protected against the onslaught of nature,” Moїse states in his New Year’s Message, where he pointed out that the new year brings the prospect of seizing an opportunity out of a crisis.
Moїse noted that the Caricom Member States’ as well as the region’s non-member states’ production of greenhouse gases is practically nil, even though they bear a disproportionate share of the consequences.
He opined that the goodwill and pledges which have been forthcoming from the international community at two major global conferences in New York and Paris give hope “that the necessary support to achieve our objective will be forthcoming.”
Issues related to natural disasters and climate change are among the things the new chairman said he intends to advance during his tenure.
In his message, Moїse also noted that the region’s efforts are against the backdrop of the Caricom Strategic Plan for 2015-2019, “which is our guide towards the economic, social, environmental and technological resilience that is needed to produce sustained growth and development for our Community.”
He said this year will see increased efforts by the Community at making the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) more effective at providing the basis for economic growth. He noted that many of the major legislative and administrative measures for the operations of the Single Market are in effect and added that it is now up to all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from its provisions.
This, he said, “would enable us to increase our intra-regional trade, share our best human resources, and encourage our entrepreneurs to expand their interests and provide us with a platform to move from market access to market presence in those countries with which we have trade agreements.”
According to the Haitian head of state, “the CSME undoubtedly remains our best vehicle for creating the economic resilience we need.”
The new Chairman added that the reform process underway in the Community will allow for its affairs to be conducted more efficiently and effectively, and will also benefit the operations of the CSME.
He said that member states, regional institutions and the Caricom Secretariat have been streamlining their interactions to produce the best possible results from the decisions taken by the heads of government and the ministerial councils.
Now entering the final two years of the strategic plan, Moїse said that the results of the efforts at implementing it are beginning to bear fruit.
“We have to rebuild with resilience now to forestall damage in the future, in other words, to build back better,” he stressed, adding; “I am confident that the creativity and determination of our people will allow us to achieve that goal.”
Moїse expressed gratitude to his predecessor, Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell, for what he called an outstanding performance in leading Caricom during one of the most difficult periods in its history.
Moїse said he looks forward to building on Mitchell’s achievements and with the assistance from all, “we shall maintain our Community on a path to sustainable development and a safe, secure, viable and prosperous society.”
He also said that Haiti looks forward to welcoming the Community to its shores in February for the 29th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government. Moїse wished all Caricom citizens a happy and productive New Year, “as we work together to continue building a resilient Community that advances the interests of all its citizens.”