Twelfth CARICOM-Japan Consultation
9 August 2007
The Twelfth Caribbean Community-Japan Consultation was held at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat on 9 August 2007. The CARICOM delegation was led by Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guyana and Ambassador to the Caribbean Community and Japan by His Excellency Ambassador Koichiro Seki, Representative of the Government of Japan to the Caribbean Community.
In her Opening Remarks, Ambassador Harper highlighted the support provided over the years by the Government of Japan to the Caribbean Community in the development efforts of the Region. She made special reference to the videoconferencing facility provided by Japan to the CARICOM Member States and the Secretariat and noted the potential benefits of this facility for the effective functioning of the Community.
In his Opening Remarks, Ambassador Koichiro Seki thanked the Government of Guyana for welcoming him and his delegation and extended deep gratitude to CARICOM for hosting the Consultation. He delivered a message from Mr. Taro Aso, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan in which the Minister conveyed that Japan recognises CARICOM Member States as its partners sharing "universal values" such as democracy, human rights, and the market economy, and the hope for continued cooperation between Japan and CARICOM Member States, based upon mutual trust.
The opportunity of the Opening Ceremony was taken for Japan to formally hand over the videoconferencing facility funded by Japan through the UNDP to the Secretariat and by extension to the entire Region.
Both sides opined that the meeting was being held at a time of profound changes at the regional and international levels. The moment was therefore opportune to evaluate the CARICOM-Japan relationship in view of the impact of these international and regional developments. The Japan side noted the recent strides made by CARICOM in the deepening of the regional integration movement through the launching of the CARICOM Single Market and the establishment of the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) and the forthcoming Regional Development Agency within the context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The CARICOM side outlined the new emphasis on functional cooperation in the Region.
REVIEW OF THE NEW FRAMEWORK FOR JAPAN/CARICOM COOPERATION
Both sides reviewed the projects and the programmes executed to date under the New Framework for CARICOM-Japan Cooperation adopted in 2000 which are supported through Japan's ODA as well as the Japan/CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund.
With respect to the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund, a member of the Japanese delegation, speaking on behalf of the Japan Management Committee of the Fund, encouraged CARICOM to more effectively utilise the private sector fund in particular. The CARICOM side confirmed its intention to ensure full utilisation of the private sector fund, with the assistance of the JICA expert attached to the CARICOM Secretariat if necessary.
It was also proposed that the current target areas of the private sector fund (energy, tourism and environment) could be expanded to include an invitation programme to enhance further friendly relations between Japan and CARICOM Member States. The CARICOM side welcomed the proposals made by Japan in facilitating utilisation of the Fund.
The Japan side distributed the list of the projects and programs executed since the New Framework was adopted by the Ministerial Meeting in 2000. In particular, the achievements during the period February 2006 to July 2007 were reviewed.
The CARICOM side expressed its gratitude for the generous assistance provided by Japan in a wide range of areas and in particular, the support thus given to the regional integration movement.
* Environment and Disaster Prevention
With regard to cooperation in the area of environment and disaster prevention, the Japan side highlighted the "Caribbean Disaster Management Project" completed in 2006, and informed that a decision had been taken to extend the Project to a second phase in 2007.
With regard to cooperation in the area of Fisheries, the Japan side noted the ongoing regional cooperation project, "The Formulation of a Master Plan for Development and Management of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Caribbean." The Japan side recalled that the preparatory study had been completed in March 2006, and that the baseline survey mission was under preparation for implementation in 2007.
* Promotion of Trade and Investment
The Japan side drew attention to the Development Initiative which was introduced at the Eleventh Meeting and which is aimed at formulating development aid in a comprehensive way building on three pillars - produce, sell and buy. Japan encouraged CARICOM Member States to submit further project proposals under the Initiative.
* Overseas Development Assistance
Japan informed of a proposal to hold a "Japan-CARICOM Consultation on Economic Cooperation Policy" at a technical level in the CARICOM Region aimed at enhancing mutual understanding of Japanese ODA schemes including inter alia a framework of regional cooperation, and the priority needs of CARICOM Member States. The date and venue of the Consultation will be determined through diplomatic channels.
COOPERATION IN INTERNATIONAL FORA
Both sides emphasised the need for continued cooperation in international fora. In this regard, the Japan side reiterated the need to realise as early as possible the reform of the UN Security Council with the expansion of permanent and non-permanent membership. For its part, the CARICOM side reiterated the importance which it attaches to UN reform generally.
The Japan side also asked for the support of CARICOM Member States for Japan's candidature for election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2008, while appreciating the support already expressed by some CARICOM Member States, as well as CARICOM's support for Japan's candidature at other elections such as the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2008, the Human Rights Council in 2008 and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) in November 2007.
Similarly, the CARICOM side sought Japan's support for the candidatures of Trinidad and Tobago for election to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) at the Thirty-sixth session of the Council of the ICAO in September 2007, Saint Lucia's candidature for membership to the UN ECOSOC for 2008-2010, the candidature of Jamaica for a seat on the Council of the International Maritime Organization at the elections to be held in November 2007, and the candidature of Guyana to the International Criminal Court in 2009 through the person of Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen.
The Japan side emphasised the need to take necessary actions toward the non-nuclearization in North Korea and the importance of resolving the abduction issue of Japanese nationals as the top priority of the Government of Japan. The Japan side called for the support of CARICOM Member States for the next UN resolution on "the Situation of Human Rights in North Korea."
The Thirteenth Consultation will be held in Japan at a date to be determined by both sides.
9 August 2007
Back to Index