A section of CARICOM Foreign Ministers gathered for the 20th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations. INSET: Secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin Larocque.

A section of CARICOM Foreign Ministers gathered for the 20th Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations. INSET: Secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin Larocque.

Business Monday: World order changing

Has ‘far-reaching implications’ for CARICOM

Ambassador Irwin Larocque believes that the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) is meeting at a time when international order is in a period of “greater flux than usual”.

According to him, “As the balance of power shifts, voids in international leadership on matters of great global import, such as climate change, will be filled by new and assertive actors.

“Many of the assumptions, processes and policies that underpinned the old international order no longer hold. Globalization and multilateralism, characterised by open borders, the institutionalisation of economic and political co-operation, and shared sovereignty, are unravelling, increasingly challenged by the rise of populism, protectionism and isolationism.”

The Secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was at the time addressing the opening ceremony of the 20th Meeting of COFCOR, which got under way on Thursday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He explained that some of these developments hold far-reaching implications for the Community’s well-being.

These include, he said, the commencement of the Brexit process, in which both parties involved are among the region’s major trading and development partners; the advent of a new United States administration, whose policy positions towards the region are not yet clear; and the uncertainty that potential policy reversals bring to a number of critical global issues.

“There is also the coming negotiations on the post-Cotonou arrangements which will define the future relationship between the ACP Group of Countries and the EU. Further, there is the discussion on the revitalisation of the ACP itself, a construct which has been very useful in bringing the three regions together in common cause,” Larocque highlighted.

The Secretary-general also acknowledged that a critical part of the background of the discussions will be the ever-present existential threat of climate change; peculiar economic and environmental vulnerabilities; and territorial and security threats.

“The Caribbean Community has a complex and formidable task at hand. With change, comes uncertainty but also the potential for opportunities,” he pointed out.

“The COFCOR and indeed CARICOM are in a process of adapting to change and building our resilience, as we seek new opportunities for advancement and a strengthened Community. Key to seizing those opportunities is the concerted and co-ordinated actions that the Community undertakes on a regular basis, across a broad spectrum of political and technical areas.” (TL)

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