Cooperation, key to Caribbean development

Cuba is aware of the great importance of the Caribbean region, stated Ileana Núñez, Cuba’s deputy minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, upon inaugurating the First Association of Caribbean States (ACS-AEC) Cooperation Conference today, March 8, in Havana.

The Cuban official highlighted that cooperation efforts include over 20,000 students from ACS-AEC nations graduate from the country’s universities, while over 3,000 youths are currently studying on the island, and close to 30,000 Cuban collaborators are offering services in different nations across the region, the majority in the field of health.

Regarding the Conference, Núñez stated that it aims to strengthen the Association, founded in Cartagena de Indias in 1994, and represents an opportunity to assess capacities, join forces, and integrate in order to achieve sustainable development in all Caribbean countries.

In this sense the Deputy Minister noted that the ACS-AEC plays an extremely important role in contributing to the cultural, social, and economic development of our peoples; speaking at the Habana Libre Hotel, where the event is taking place.

At another moment, she stated that the presence of 71 delegations at the Conference was a demonstration of the importance of the event for all member states, associated nations, and guests.

Núñez also spoke about the challenges facing the Caribbean, such as combating climate change, and transportation. In this regard, she called on participants to exchange projects and increase efforts toward solving these important issues for the region.

The Association’s Secretary General June Soomer also delivered a speech during the inauguration of the event, emphasizing that since its creation in 1994, the ACS-AEC has undertaken important development projects.

This Conference is vital and timely, because it will allow us to create spaces for cooperation as our organization grows, stated the diplomat from Saint Lucia.

Soomer went on to note that the ACS-AEC is well positioned to become a cooperation mechanism for the Caribbean region, able to contribute to the area’s development, just as its founders had envisioned.

She also commented that development is a fundamental aspect of the Association’s work, to which the expansion and strengthening of its collaboration networks are vital.

This will be a space to strengthen alliances and dialogue, stated Soomer, while thanking Cuba for convening the event.

The Caribbean Sea is the shared patrimony of the peoples of the region, she stated, while highlighting the potential and opportunities for cooperation which exist within the zone.

Promoting collaboration was one of the main reasons why the ACS-AEC was created, thus we hope that relevant projects will be thoroughly analyzed during this event, noted Soomer, who went on to emphasize the importance of substantial cooperation between committed partners, directed toward achieving results and sustainable development.

We must have joint initiatives which benefit all interested parties, something to which we are fully committed, she added.

The First ACS-AEC Cooperation Conference began this Wednesday, March 8, in Havana with the aim of defining development projects among Caribbean nations.

According to Cuban officials, important topics for the region such as tourism and trade will also be discussed during the event.

The Conference is bringing together representatives from associated member states, observer nations, relevant countries and United Nations programs and funds, interested in strengthening relations with the Caribbean community.

This event was jointly convened by the organization’s Secretary General and Cuba, in its role as president pro tempore of the bloc’s Ministerial Council, and seeks to boost cooperation among members of the Community.