of the ACS
Association of Caribbean States (ACS) gets stronger by the
day. This association, whose Caribbean visionaries undertook
to develop, on the one hand, functional co-operation, and
on the other, to consolidate economic, political, scientific,
and cultural relations in the Caribbean, moves relentlessly
towards these objectives.
The central idea that led to the formation of the ACS, that
co-operation between the countries, states and territories
of the Greater Caribbean will benefit above all the peoples
of the regionnotwithstanding the respective linguistic
differences and level of development of each of themis
producing satisfactory results.
The association, founded to develop dialogue and concerted
political action among the various regions that constitute
it, continues to respond to this fundamental aim. Dialogue
and concerted action happen regularly: during the various
scheduled activities within the institutional mechanisms
of participation and on the secretariat level.
It is thus that successively, the Group of Three, Caricom
and the non-group countries have been represented by a secretary
general to conduct the fate of the association. Now it comes
down to a representative from Central America to take up
the mantle. This representative was elected at the last
meeting of the Ministerial Council and took up his post
on March 3. In this sense, the alternation is rigorously
respected in the ACS.
Apart from the alternation, what is important is the political
vision that each secretary general brings to the association
during his mandate, which contributes to the strengthening
of the Greater Caribbean. Today, the ACS enjoys high visibility
on the regional and international scene and its relations
with its partners are growing.
A number of its founding observers (Caricom, Sica, Eclac,
Sela), the observer countries (from Latin America, Europe
and Asia) and social actors (universities, research centres,
various organisations and institutions) participate regularly
in its activities and meetings. And there are many countries
and other international institutions that wish to join this
project of the Greater Caribbean. Also on this level, the
reinforcement of the ACS is ensured.
The last meeting of the Ministerial Council raised the issue
of co-operation among member states. In this respect, certain
delegations, in the session of the ministerial political
dialogue, indicated the fields in which their countries
can offer co-operation and assistance. These areas are as
diverse as technical and distance training, production of
biofuels, the fight against drug trafficking and disaster
Also, certain delegations made themselves available to contribute
to the rapprochement between nationals of member states,
breaking language barriers, through continued training in
the three working languages of the ACS, and implementing
programmes for exchange and cultural immersion.
Thus, this ministerial meeting allowed the member states
to make proposals relating to regional co-operation and
international business relations.
For example, a member state mentioned some priority projects,
including the establishment of an integrated information
system of the Greater Caribbean, the facilitation of Customs
initiatives, the special and differential treatment of small
economies in international business agreements, the programme
to reduce and eliminate progressively obstacles to business
and investment, and a framework agreement for reciprocal
promotion and protection of investments.
Considering the points mentioned above, there is no doubt
that the role of the ACS is strengthening. As one of the
delegations says, the ACS remains the privileged forum of
the Greater Caribbean which allows advances in the defence
and consolidation of democracy, and at the same time it
helps in the fight against poverty and in research on sustainable
The ACS is finally strengthening through the question of
the Caribbean Sea, this common heritage of all the peoples
of the region. Through the initiative of the ACS, in 2006
the UN passed a resolution moving towards declaring the
Caribbean Sea as a special zone in the context of sustainable
And the ACS works tirelessly through the Caribbean Sea Commission
towards achieving the aims defined in the Declaration of
Panama (2005) on this question and in responding to the
recommendations contained in this resolution.
The commission now has a joint working plan approved by
the Ministerial Council and its internal regulations are
also becoming ever more shaped around joint action. The
reinforcement of the ACS will continue. The ideals that
led to its formation are strong, yesterday and today.
n Dr Watson Denis is the political adviser of
the Secretariat of the Association of Caribbean
States. The opinions expressed are not
necessarily the official opinions of the ACS.
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