The Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference
November 8, 2000, Tokyo
"A NEW FRAMEWORK
FOR JAPAN-CARICOM COOPERATION
FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY"
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Ministers responsible for Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (hereinafter referred to as "CARICOM"), i.e. Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, meeting in Tokyo on November 8, 2000, discussed a framework for future cooperation between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries and developed "A New Framework for Japan-CARICOM Cooperation for the Twenty-first Century."
1. Partnership for Stability and Development
In light of the deepening interdependence in international relations and the consequences of globalization, the Ministers renewed their determination to further strengthen relationship between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries, while the CARICOM states are also seeking to further enhance their relations with other Asian and Pacific countries. The Ministers resolved to make every effort to further develop Japan-CARICOM relations under a framework of "Partnership for Stability and Development" with particular emphasis on:
- cooperation for the economic and social development of the CARICOM Member Countries,
- cooperation for integration into the global economy; active economic interaction and exchanges between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries, involving their respective private sectors, and
- cooperation in international fora such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
1-1 Cooperation for Economic and Social Development
The Ministers took note of the economic, social and environmental vulnerability of the Caribbean states and the variety of opportunities and challenges brought by a rapid process of globalization. They reaffirmed their common view that development cooperation should be further promoted to support the efforts of the CARICOM Member Countries to pursue sustainable economic and social development, centering on poverty reduction and other areas as follows:
In view of the fact that political stability is a prerequisite for the smooth implementation of development programmes, the Ministers will promote domestically and internationally the elaboration of processes built on the principles of democracy, justice and respect for human rights. The Ministers recognize that the international community needs to provide assistance in the capacity building of states while respecting their sovereignty. They will also cooperate in building of capacity of judicial institutions in the Region, including human resource development, taking into account progress made in the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Trade liberalization and globalization of economies have exposed the widening gaps of income within countries and between countries and are contributing to the increase in the population of the poor. In light of this, the Ministers resolved to cooperate in the creation of job opportunities for the socially disadvantaged, including women, to increase access to primary health care services, basic education, potable water, and to improve the capacity for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Environment and Disaster Prevention
The preservation of the environment and the mitigation of natural disasters are of vital importance to the sustainable development of the Caribbean countries, as they are to Japan. With respect to the environment, the Ministers expressed their determination to cooperate in the prevention of marine pollution, management and treatment of waste disposal and other measures to prevent environmental degradation. They also decided to promote cooperation in human resource development, improvement of regulatory systems and enhancement of administrative capabilities in this regard.
As regards natural disasters, the Ministers decided to promote cooperation for the provision of adequate resources to cope with natural disasters and to establish machinery for preventative action and rehabilitation. It was also decided that international cooperation should be promoted to strengthen the institutional capacity of the regional and national agencies concerned with disaster prevention, emergency response and management.
Development of Small and Medium Enterprises
Recognizing that the development of small, medium and micro-enterprises contributes to a more diversified industrial structure and to the promotion of rural development and poverty reduction, the Ministers decided to cooperate in vocational training and other human resource development programmes in such areas as marketing, the development of manufacturing skills, standards and quality control, entrepreneurship, business accounting and other management skills.
1-2 Cooperation for Integration into the Global Economy
The Ministers shared the view that the expansion of trade in goods and services, increased inflows of foreign investment, and the greater access to information and communications technology are of vital importance for ensuring sustainable growth of the Caribbean economies and their integration into the global economy. They therefore reaffirmed the need to encourage interaction and exchanges between Japan and the CARICOM countries involving their private sectors and to intensify cooperation to support infrastructure and human resource development, especially in the following areas:
Tourism, Fisheries and Agriculture
Both sides will explore the possibility of convening, as soon as possible, an appropriate forum involving both Japanese and CARICOM tourism industries, in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, for the purpose of promoting interaction and exchange in tourism and identifying possible areas of cooperation for tourism development, including cooperation by the private sector, in the Caribbean Region.
They will pursue closer cooperation in the area of infrastructure development, the provision of equipment, human resource development and technical assistance with a view to further strengthening the fishing industries in the CARICOM Member Countries.
They will also pursue the possibility for collaboration in agriculture.
Trade and Investment Promotion
Both sides will continue to pursue contacts at public and private sector levels with a view to stimulating trade and investment between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries. With this in mind, they decided to organize a Caribbean Trade and Tourism Fair in Japan not later than 2002.
Information and Communications Technology
Both sides will pursue cooperation in human resource development in the area of information and communications technology, thereby supporting the efforts by the CARICOM countries to achieve the active introduction and wider diffusion of information and communications technology throughout the Region. In this regard, they decided to organize a regional seminar at an early date with a view to strengthening Japan-CARICOM cooperation in the promotion of the use of information and communications technology.
1-3 Cooperation in International Fora
Recognizing the importance of enhancing mutual understanding and strengthening cooperation in international fora between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries, the Ministers discussed current international issues of common concern. In so doing, they emphasized the necessity of an early achievement of the United Nations reform such as the Security Council reform including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership. They underlined the importance of multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, and further expressed the need to address the special circumstances of small and vulnerable states and to intensify efforts to implement debt relief initiatives. They also stressed the importance of global environmental issues including climate change, transnational organized crimes and international tax issues. The Ministers resolved to further encourage multilateral dialogue on these issues.
2. Promotion of Mutual Understanding through Dialogues and Exchanges between Japan and CARICOM
The Ministers shared the view that the foundation of relationship between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries should be further consolidated through the promotion of broad-based exchanges of peoples involving the private sector, civil society and youth, as well as the promotion of cultural exchanges to enhance the mutual understanding of both peoples.
2-1 Enhancing Cultural Exchanges
Recognizing the importance of cultural interaction between Japan and CARICOM, the Ministers expressed the need to encourage the introduction of the Caribbean culture to Japan and the Japanese culture to the Caribbean. They affirmed their intention to closely cooperate in promoting and implementing cultural activities. The Ministers of the CARICOM Member States welcomed the proposal of the Government of Japan to explore the possibility of supporting the efforts by the CARICOM Member States to preserve the cultural heritage of the Region.
2-2 Promoting Exchanges of Peoples at Various Levels
The Ministers recognized the importance of promoting exchanges involving the private sector, civil society, and youth. In light of this, the Ministers of the CARICOM Member States welcomed the proposal of the Government of Japan to invite from CARICOM countries in 2001, a group of youth who are expected to play a leading role in the field of information and communications technology in their respective countries.
3. Framework and Mechanisms for Dialogue and Communication between Japan and CARICOM
The Ministers decided to establish the following mechanisms for promoting dialogues and communication between Japan and the CARICOM Member Countries:
The next Japan-CARICOM Ministerial Conference will be held at a date of mutual convenience in 2003 or soon thereafter. The Japan-CARICOM Consultation Meeting at senior officials level will be held annually in the intervals between the Ministerial Conferences. For purposes of follow-up, technical meetings on cooperation projects will be held as necessary.
The Japanese side proposed the establishment of a Japan-CARICOM friendship and cooperation fund to support friendship and cooperation projects/programmes. The CARICOM side welcomed this Japanese initiative. Both sides will consult on this matter in due course.
As a supplement to official communication through diplomatic channels, an e-mail network will be established as soon as possible among the Foreign Ministries of Japan and the CARICOM countries as well as the CARICOM Secretariat. To establish the network, preparatory work will be commenced through the CARICOM Secretariat.
Tokyo, November 8th, 2000
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations of the Caribbean Community
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