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Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

Secretary-General Meets with Secretary-General of CARICOM. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Established in 1973, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a grouping of 20 countries: 15 Member States and five associated members, most of which are Small Island Developing States. The CARICOM Secretariat is located in Georgetown, Guyana, and the Secretary-General is Ms. Carla Barnett of Belize, who was appointed in 2021.

In July 2023, Secretary-General António Guterres attended the 45th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Trinidad and Tobago, which also served to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the regional organization, as a special guest. Heads of CARICOM welcomed his remarks and advocacy on issues of critical importance to member States, particularly climate change and the reform of the global financial system. 

CARICOM was granted observer status before the UN General Assembly in 1991 (A/RES/46/8). In 1994, the General Assembly resolution on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community” (A/RES/49/141) requested the Secretary-General to, in consultation with the Secretary-General of CARICOM, “promote meetings between their representatives for consultations on policies, projects, measures and procedures that will facilitate and broaden cooperation and coordination between them”.

In 1997, the Secretariats of CARICOM and the UN signed a Cooperation Agreement establishing that both entities should “act in close collaboration and hold consultations regularly on matters of common interest”. It also established that the Secretariats should “develop the appropriate framework for such consultations as and when necessary”.

The consultations between the Secretariats of the two organizations from 2000 to 2021 took the form of biennial General Meetings, held alternatively at their respective Headquarters. The Joint Statement of the 11th CARICOM-UN General Meeting fed into General Assembly resolution 75/323 on “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Caribbean Community” (A/RES/75/323). Further to the General Meetings, DPPA has supported the CARICOM Secretariat´s capacity in electoral assistance to its Member States, and helped facilitate UN support for CARICOM’s Counter-Terrorism and Crime and Security Strategies.

The inter-institutional collaborative mechanism allowed both organizations to enhance their analyses, strategies and programmes, as well as to explore how they could support the CARICOM Secretariat and Associated Institutions in carrying out their tasks.

With coherence among UN actors in the Caribbean significantly advanced through the General Meeting mechanism, DPPA and CARICOM’s Directorate for Foreign and Community Relations are now exploring options on how to best take the CARICOM-UN consultations forward within the framework of the 1997 Cooperation Agreement.