A unified Community, competitive in the global arena; enabling resilience and improved quality of life, underlie the strategic objective of the Directorate for Foreign and Community Relations.
Coordination of foreign and external relations
Essential to the work of the Directorate is safeguarding and promoting the Community’s interests within the global environment. This is done through the coordination of foreign and external relations evidenced, inter alia, by:
positioning CARICOM in the international environment;
facilitating collaboration, cooperation and strategic alliances with Third States; and
understanding and advocating for the special needs of small open states, sensitive to external shocks of all sorts.
In this context, the Directorate provides support to the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR); the Community Organ which determines the relations between the Community and international organizations and Third States. The COFCOR also promotes the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among Member States.
Specifically, the Directorate works to ensure effective coordination at the national level, that is, between Foreign and line ministries; and at the Community level, with Member States, the Secretariat and Community Institutions.
The Directorate’s work helps influence policy and informed decision making through the timely and consistent
Enhancing social resilience is an essential element of CARICOM’s thrust to build “A Community for All”. To this end, sustained human and social development with reduced levels of poverty, equitable access and significant improvement of citizen security underlie the essence of the work of the Directorate of Human and Social Development of the CARICOM Secretariat. To achieve the desired Community goals, the Directorate collaborates with a variety of stakeholders including Community Institutions, Civil Society, centres of higher education, regional and multilateral institutions and agencies to generate evidenced based information on which to provide sound policy guidance and the basis for advocacy by regional governments. In this regard, its programmes and activities are identified below.
Human Resource Development
Culture and Community Development
Gender and Development
Health Sector Development
Crime and Security
CARICOM’s response to HIV and AIDS epidemic through the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) also falls within the ambit of this Directorate.
In carrying out its functions in pursuit of the Community’s goal, the Directorate:
facilitates the coordination and harmonization of human and sustainable development
Sustainable economic development with improved quality of life for the Caribbean Community is the aim of CARICOM’s economic integration; largely conceived through a single economic space, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Establishing and implementing the CSME is at the heart of the work of the Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration of the CARICOM Secretariat
To this end the Directorate has identified its goal as an effectively functioning and relevant CSME which positions the Community to achieve its objectives and to function beneficially and successfully in the global economy. This goal is informed by the need for job creation; and market integration to facilitate production integration. It is also informed by the need for greater integration of the less developed countries to enable them to benefit from and to contribute to the Community; and for initiatives, in general, to impact all of the people of the Community.
It is expected that the CSME will, among other benefits -
provide cheaper and better quality goods and services
create greater opportunities for travel, work and study in other CARICOM countries
provide access to larger markets
enable the Community to have a greater voice in the international arena
allow for fiscal, monetary and investment policies to be coordinated and harmonised
allow for haromonised and sectoral policy for example on agriculture,
The Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) is the body that comprises Caribbean ACP States for the purpose of promoting and coordinating policy dialogue, cooperation and regional integration, mainly within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP and the European Union and also the CARIFORUM-European Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
There are sixteen (16) Participating States, namely:
Antigua and Barbuda The Bahamas Barbados Belize Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada Guyana Haiti Jamaica Suriname Saint Lucia St. Christopher and Nevis St. Vincent and the Grenadines Suriname Trinidad and Tobago
All Participating States, with the exception of Cuba, are signatories to both the ACP/European Union Cotonou Agreement and the CARIFORUM-European Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). In this regard, they benefit directly from regional resources under Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) and also belong to the preferential trade arrangement with the European Union.
The Group also allows observer status for other Caribbean territories. The following British and Dutch Overseas Territories and Countries (OCTs) have observer status in CARIFORUM: