Considerations and the special interests of the CARICOM states
G20 Summit

Considerations and the special interests of the CARICOM states

The Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) participation in the world economy and its internal economic management and structural adjustments are critical to the region’s sustainable development. CARICOM will bring to the G20 summit discussion a better appreciation of its existential reality as a group of small developing states in an interconnected but ever-changing international environment. Forging strategic alliances is important so that the gains to be had can be shared for the benefit of all. Notwithstanding their size, small developing states have a tremendous capacity to add value to the deliberations on finding effective solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

The G20’s Buenos Aires Summit is also an opportunity to highlight issues of specific concern to CARICOM and to better sensitise the G20 members and international development partners to the unique vulnerabilities faced by small states, particularly the island developing states.

Given our geographical location and the associated climatic events, countries within CARICOM have had to develop expertise in dealing with natural disasters and the effects of climate change – rising sea levels, droughts, severe flooding, coastal erosion, storm surges and hurricanes – which continue to severely affect the region. We therefore bring to the table both an understanding of and experience in building resilience to climatic conditions through supporting climate adaptation and mitigation and, by extension, promoting environmental sustainability from which others can learn.

At the Buenos Aires Summit, Jamaica and other CARICOM countries intend to further work on our priority areas. CARICOM countries face constant vulnerabilities to variables such as the severe effects of climate-related weather phenomena and have economies that are not adequately diversified to withstand the impacts of external shocks. For some members, the reliance on narrow resource bases and international trade as well as heavy reliance on service industries, such as tourism, leaves them open to significant impacts arising from turmoil in other economies.

To secure growth and a better future, we have been prioritising issues such as climate resilience, energy resilience, sustainable finance, quality infrastructure development, trade and investment and the future of work, emphasising education and training that will equip our workforce to operate in a digital economy.

Jamaica welcomed and accepted the invitation to represent CARICOM at the G20. We believe that our participation affords both CARICOM, comprising largely small island developing states, and the G20, representing the world’s 20 largest economies, the opportunity to take a renewed look at the state of the global economic and financial architecture, in collaboration with major international development partners. CARICOM fully recognises the need for transformation and innovation to drive economic growth and development.

CARICOM also fully recognises the value of partnerships across the world in efforts to put the well-being of people first, in keeping with the theme of “building consensus for fair and sustainable development” selected by Argentina’s presidency. CARICOM anticipates having a voice in formulating the future international agenda with regards to each of the critical issues on the G20 agenda.

Our presence at the table with the G20 will enable us to highlight critical issues that impinge on the global commitment to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure that no one is left behind. We look forward to playing an active role in deliberations on issues of importance, not only to our region but also those that have global impacts.

CARICOM countries, with the exception of Haiti, have been designated highly indebted middle-income countries by virtue of their gross domestic product only. That criterion ignores the multiple other realities that have an impact on fiscal space, growth and the achievement of development targets.

We believe, therefore, that with a better appreciation of the special interests and concerns of CARICOM, comprising 15 full member states and five observer states, 90% of them small island states, the G20 can better formulate policies, programmes and positions on global issues, with special considerations of the well-being of countries like ours.