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REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION ‘PRIORITY AREAS’ OF OECS

[Press Release] Accelerating OECS Regional Integration and committing to strengthening climate change adaption measures are just some of the key priority areas recently outlined by the new Chairman of the OECS Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadinesat the 31st Meeting of the OECS Commission.

Key Points

  • OECS Chairman Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves signals Regional Integration and Climate Change Adaptation measures are some key priority areas under his Chairmanship
  • OECS Commission pushes forward with its Strategic Objectives to accelerate Regional Integration, Climate Change Adaptation and Entrepreneurial Support as some focus areas
  • OECS Commission to also focus on better explaining Regional Integration and the rights and responsibilities of every citizen for improved economic opportunities

Prime Minister Gonsalves who assumed the role of OECS Chairman on June 18th 2018 signaled these priority areas for the coming year at a recent meeting of OECS Commissioners – designated representatives of Ambassadorial rank from each Member State to the OECS.

Framed against an evolving regional and global political landscape, Prime Minister Gonsalves reaffirmed the work of the OECS Commission and Member States in advancing Regional Integration for the social, cultural and economic benefit of all citizens but noted more work needed to be done in accord with the Revised Treaty of Basseterre (RTB).

Prime Minister Gonsalves further committed to ensuring that climate change negotiations and work advanced under previous OECS Chairman and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Hon. Allen Chastanet, be strengthened to protect the OECS as a collection of Small Island Developing States.

OECS Director General Dr. Didacus Jules said the assumption of the chairmanship by Prime Minister Gonsalves was fortuitous as he brings a long record of service as one of the signatories to the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and a rigorous grounding in political economy and history at a time of increasing uncertainty and the decline of multilateralism.

 “Strong national economies are the bedrock of being able to uplift and improve the lives of all citizens and to this end we are not only fashioning OECS Regional Integration in conformity to the RTB but to the economic circumstances we find ourselves.

“These include globalization and the opportunities it brings but conversely tackling international headwinds such as financial de-risking which threaten to cut full access to global financial systems and stymie growth. 

 “Small business is the engine room of any economy and through our support for OECS entrepreneurs we are confident we will continue to see improved private-sector job creation supported by Regional Integration measures that will make doing business regionally and indeed globally easier.

“We are on the front line of the climate change war and are thus are committed to exploring the vast potential of renewable energies such a geothermal to send strong signals to the world that we are firmly committed to a low carbon future.

“Too often Regional Integration is term bandied around with little significance to the fish vendor, the school student, the farmer, the small business person; and henceforth we will also be doubling down our efforts to explain what it means for every citizen and how they can become more involved to shape the future state of our nations. 

“Together we have achieved much and to improve opportunities for all we must continue to traverse the faultlines of triviality, focus on our special place in the world and be emboldened that within the OECS we have the wherewithal, talent and ability to create the futures of tomorrow.

“We thank Prime Minister Gonsalves for his strong, principled leadership and we look forward to working under his Chairmanship, the Authority and Commissioners to advance a more secure, safer and prosperous OECS for all” said Dr. Jules.

The 31st Meeting of the OECS Commission was held from the 16th – 17th August 2018 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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