PM Phillips advocates for enhanced regional coordination to secure regional sustained development at ACS Ninth Summit in Guatemala

The Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips has advocated for enhanced regional coordination and collaboration to address political, financial, social, and environmental challenges to secure the Greater Caribbean Region’s sustained development.

He was speaking during the recently concluded Ninth Summit of Heads of State and/or Government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), in La Antigua, Guatemala.

During his address, the Prime Minister told regional leaders that systematic gaps in the economic, scientific, and technological spheres have emerged in recent years, highlighting global deficits and disparities, particularly for developing countries, demonstrating the need for a fundamental retooling of how the region interacts.

According to the Senior Government Official, the summit’s theme asks for increased political dialogue among countries, as well as deeper collaboration and integration, which will benefit the Caribbean region’s overall sustainable development.

“This Summit’s theme provides a timely opportunity for us as a region, to deliberate on the strategies that would allow us to strive for the sustainable development of our countries and to overcome the challenges of economic recovery and resilience-building in this post-Covid era that have been further compounded by the destabilising effect of the war in Ukraine.

“We must also consider new mechanisms for partnership that can enhance our level of interaction through increased people-to-people engagement, increased technical cooperation, and knowledge sharing, not only amongst ourselves, but extra regionally as well,” he urged.

The Prime Minister stated that balanced global action, tackling adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage, especially among severely affected small island and low-lying coastal developing countries is needed, citing the decisions made at the last Conference of Parties (COP), which informed the international commitment on the loss and damage fund.

“It remains imperative that as a region we ensure these and other financial commitments are realised to our beneficial interest. For our part, the Government of Guyana has adopted a low-carbon development strategy which focuses on forest climate services and other ecosystem services, stimulation of future growth through clean energy and sustainable economic activities, protection against climate change, and alignment of the country’s economic and social policies with global climate goals.”

Speaking on the pillar of hemispheric food security, Prime Minister Phillips pointed to CARICOM’s accelerated efforts to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025. This project’s purpose is to establish a sustainable import substitution programme.

“This is to be executed within the operational framework of enhanced quality and quantities of affordable agricultural products, secure and boost food and nutrition security within the Community.”

On the region’s transportation networks, the Prime Minister said transportation, distribution, and logistics although pillars of the ACS remain obstacles. “The region’s transport infrastructural architecture continues to inhibit its intra-regional connectivity.”

He reinforced that, “Developing transport services which support bringing the people of the Region closer together is paramount, even as we collectively engage in the process of learning more about each other’s countries, cultures, and enhancing trade.”

Addressing climate and energy security, Prime Minister Phillips said climate and energy security must operate in tandem with each other.

While noting that Guyana is now an oil-producing country, the Prime Minister said the government is cognisant of its responsibility to provide access to inexpensive energy to its citizens.

“In positioning itself as a leader in energy security, we project an energy platform in diversified areas such as wind, solar, and hydropower. Guyana looks forward to continued engagement within the ACS to ensure the energy future of the region.”

In closing, the Prime Minister reiterated Guyana’s commitment to the ACS.

“I wish to restate that Guyana remains committed to the Association of Caribbean States and continues to value the important role it plays in regional integration and development.”

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