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Tuesday, July 25, 2006 


ACS intensifies its efforts on Caribbean Sea Initiative

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: The First Meeting of the Follow-Up Commission for the Caribbean Sea Initiative, will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2006, at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Secretariat in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to move ahead in the work undertaken by the ACS in this respect.

The ACS hosted its first meeting on the Caribbean Sea in May of 2003, at which time the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) had examined the status of the proposal for securing the international recognition of the Caribbean Sea as a Special Area in the context of Sustainable Development.

The ACS Ministers, at their ordinary meeting in Port of Spain in March of this year, agreed on the creation of a Follow-Up Commission which would build on the work already done by the TAG, devising a work programme not only to implement the Caribbean Sea Initiative and the UNGA Res. 59/230, "Promoting an Integrated Approach to the Caribbean Area in the Context of Sustainable Development", but more importantly to ensure that a future resolution captures more of the essence of the proposal from the ACS. The Commission's composition will also benefit from participation of representatives of the ACS Member States.

As ACS Legal Adviser, Sheldon McDonald, explains, "This new structure is qualitatively different from the TAG. The former, while doing valuable work was purely advisory. This Commission is an inter-governmental agency, with a multi-disciplinary composition to ensure that it is able to tackle all the critical issues involved in securing acceptance by the international community of the need to declare the Caribbean Sea a Special Area in the context of sustainable development."

Though this first meeting is expected to deal with the Commission's structure, financing and procedures, its future activities are essential to the implementation of the Caribbean Sea initiative, which will bestow on the peoples of the Greater Caribbean the power to tackle the uses and abuses of the Caribbean Sea. This will be achieved by seeking to ensure greater harmonisation of the planning and implementation of the numerous activities which directly and indirectly impact upon the Caribbean.

The inaugural meeting, apart from deciding on procedural issues, will begin to tackle the mandate to develop an action-oriented programme of work. Additionally, the meeting will plan the strategies to be utilised to ensure that the issue is fully ventilated at the Sixty-First Session of the UN General Assembly later this year. In this regard, plans are already advanced for the holding of a special meeting of the Commission at the UN Headquarters coinciding with the debate on resolution 59/230.

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba, France on behalf of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, and the Netherlands Antilles.

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