COFCOR wraps in Dominica, CARICOM Foreign Ministers plant trees at Botanical

The 27th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) wrapped in Dominica on Friday.

COFCOR wraps in Dominica, CARICOM Foreign Ministers plant trees at Botanical
COFCOR wraps in Dominica, CARICOM Foreign Ministers plant trees at Botanical

Roseau, Dominica: The 27th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) wrapped in Dominica on Friday. The two-day meeting brought together Foreign Affairs Ministers from CARICOM countries.

CARICOM Secretary General Dr. Carla Benett said that she was looking forward to the Council for Foreign and Community Relations advancing its contribution to the sustainable development of CARICOM and its standing on the global stage.

“The global context is increasingly challenged with threats to multilateralism disregard for international law and increased instability in many parts of the world. As small islands and low-lying coastal developing states, we are more vulnerable to these international fluctuations which continue to adversely affect our economies, environments, and societies, ”she added.

Highlighting the work of the council, she noted that these two days, the council engaged in critical discussions, including climate change- a reality that becomes even more critical as the region approaches the 2024 hurricane season.

The council has also discussed affordable climate financing for developing states as Dr. Benett added that regular hurricanes set back the development efforts on doing hard one progress.

She also talked about Hurricane Maria and said that the region bears the unfair burden of adapting to climate change though they have made no significant contribution to it.

“Climate resilience cannot be realized without affordable resources necessary for infrastructural development in our bilateral and joint engagements, we must continue as a collective to reinforce the urgency of reform of the global financial architecture as proposed in the Bridgetown initiatives.”

Dr Benett outlined the initiative and mentioned that it would facilitate increased access to resources at a cost that the region can bear to address the impact of climate change on the economies and societies.

The regional organization is expanding beyond its traditional relationships an issue which will be further advanced at the SIDS conference in Antigua and Barbuda.

“Exemplified by the push for a formal partnership with the African Union and expanded political dialogue, the fourth International Conference on small island developing states to be hosted in Antigua and Barbuda next week will also present an opportunity for member states to engage with international partners, ”she noted.

She cited that the conference will provide a chance to interact with international partners which will have a common agenda regarding climate change and financing for development. She emphasized that the emerging non-traditional relationships particularly between CARICOM and the Middle East is one of great thing.

She further talked about the CARICOM Saudi Arabia Summit co-chaired by Dominica in 2023 and several engagements with the UAE and said that these are decisive steps towards establishing ties with the middle east region, which intended to continue widening its sphere of engagement through cooperation with outside countries.

In addition to that, Foreign Affairs Minister of CARICOM also had an opportunity to participate in a tree planting event at the Botanical Gardens. The visit was one item on their agenda on the final day of their two-day meeting in Dominica.

Minister for Environment- Cozier Frederick added that they are adding some value to the Botanical Gardens and also Dominica by extension as we do have the vising members of CARICOM Foreign Affairs Ministers.

He said, ”The members are here to have a wonderful forum to speak about the way forward for better integration across Caribbean islands, but importantly they wanted to participate in an activity that would solidify the presence in Dominica, but also add some value to space.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs- Vince Henderson also visited the site and said that they wanted to help in reforestation and help in building the biodiversity. He expressed pleasure and said that they have planted eight trees and intended to plant more to ensure that the trees are maintained.