St Vincent and the Grenadines, in its capacity as Pro Tempore President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, (CELAC) hosted the 45 th meeting of National Coordinators of CELAC on Thursday, November 30.
Some 26 delegates drawn from 33 CELAC member countries converged at the University of the West Indies Global Campus, Kingstown for the meeting, which was chaired by Dr Douglas Slater, the National Coordinator of the CELAC Secretariat.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Slater said the main focus of the meeting was to seek to advance the process of formulating a CELAC (Kingstown) Declaration for the 8th Summit of Heads of State and Government of CELAC which will now be held on March 1, 2024.
Slater said the date of the summit has been moved from January 2024 to March, 2024, because it clashed with the Summit of Heads of Government of CARICOM that will take place in Guyana. However, he noted that heads of government will arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines on February 29 for the opening ceremony of the summit which will take place on March 1, 2024.
The National Coordinator of the CELAC Secretariat also commended the member states of CELAC and the national coordinators for their support over the year, which he said has not been without challenges.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sandy Peters-Phillips said CELAC holds a very special place in this country’s foreign policy agenda. She said it creates a space for dialogue among equal but differentiated partners with the aim of deepening political, economic, social and cultural integration and strengthening the ties of solidarity and cooperation among Latin America and the Caribbean countries.
She noted that the unprecedented global challenges and the complex day-to-day issues of the political international economy demand that CELAC be positioned to be the regional voice and advocate at the international level on common issues which affects us in this part of the world such as climate change, regional conflict, hunger eradication pandemic and sustainable development.
Peters-Phillips said she is confident that the meeting has provided a forum for delegates to advance purposefully on the CELAC (Kingstown) Declaration and noted that they will be able to present to the foreign affairs ministers a document which captures the essence of their joint decisions.
The CELAC (Kingstown) Declaration will be refined over the coming weeks and submitted to Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CELAC, prior to the 8th Summit of Heads of State & Government of CELAC, for their review and approval before submitting to the Heads at the 2024 Summit.
The Declaration/Document is expected to include decisions or proposals aimed at further strengthening the unity and socio-economic development among CELAC member countries. (API)