CARICOM heads approve region’s first ever strategic plan
CARICOM heads of government have approved the first ever strategic plan for the Caribbean Community. This announcement was made by chair of the conference Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, during a closing press conference at the end of the 35th meeting of the conference on Friday.
According to Browne, the five-year plan (2014-2019) sought to “reposition the Community and identify priorities and activities that would meet the challenges of the international environment”.
He said it was the crucial element in the reform process for the Caribbean Community; adding that the change process would involve a reform of the Community’s institutions and a restructuring of its Secretariat.
The plan identified eight integrated strategic priorities and key areas of interventions: building economic resilience; social resilience; environmental resilience; technological resilience; strengthening the CARICOM identity and spirit of community; strengthening community governance along with coordinated foreign policy, research and development and innovation.
Browne said that the top areas of focus identified by the CARICOM secretary general, Irwin LaRocque, were approved by heads. These were selected from the integrated strategic priorities outlined in the strategic plan and include the development of a single ICT space, reformation of the CARICOM Secretariat, its organs, bodies, institutions and governance arrangements, climate adaptation and mitigation and disaster mitigations and management.
Other areas are the introduction of measures for macro-economic stabilization, advancement of health and wellness, human capital development as well as the enhancement of citizen security and justice, public education, public information and advocacy, deepening foreign policy coordination, building competitiveness and unleashing key economic drivers to transition to growth and generate employment.
Browne used the opportunity to thank the change facilitation team who spearheaded the research and consultations that went into formulating the document.
“I also commend highly the change drivers appointed by the heads of government in the member states who worked closely with the team in both the consultations and the finalisation of the document,” he stated.
He added that the change drivers would play a key role in the implementation of the plan which required commitment and focus from the member states, the organs and bodies, the Secretariat and Community institutions.
The decision to develop a strategic plan for the Caribbean Community was taken by the CARICOM heads of government at their inter-sessional meeting in Suriname in 2012. The leaders agreed that it was necessary to re-examine the future direction of the Community and the arrangements for carrying it forward.
Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community
Why a new strategic plan and what do we hope to achieve
A wide canvassing of views across the Caribbean Community told a clear message that there needs to be a refocussing, redirecting and reorganizing of the Community to move it forward and reignite the flames of integration.
The Strategic Plan outlines the Strategic repositioning of the Community.
The Caribbean Community to which we aspire over the next five years: The Vision.
A Caribbean Community that is integrated, inclusive and resilient; driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation and productivity; a Community where every citizen is secure and has the opportunity to realize his or her potential with guaranteed human rights and social justice; and contributes to, and shares in, its economic, social and cultural prosperity. A Community which can be a united force in the global arena.
The Strategic Priorities to 2019
To address the Community’s development objectives over the five year period, the Plan identifies the following Integrated Strategic Priorities:
- Building Economic Resilience
- Building Social Resilience
- Building Environmental Resilience
- Building Technological Resilience
- Strengthening the CARICOM Identity and Spirit of Community
- Strengthening Governance of the Caribbean Community
- Coordinated Foreign Policy, and
- Research, Development and Innovation
Building Economic Resilience
Economic Resilience will be primary among the six strategic priorities. Current analyses predict that difficult economic times may persist for several Member States over the five year period of this strategic plan.
This Priority will focus on creating an enabling environment for stabilizing Member States economies and putting them on the path to robust growth.
Building Social Resilience
The goal is improved quality of life for all people through, among other things, improved education and health, reduced levels of poverty, equitable access to opportunities by vulnerable groups, and enhanced citizen security.
Building social resilience will compliment and be complimented by economic resilience.
Building Environmental Resilience
The goal is to reduce the Caribbean Community’s vulnerability to disaster risk and the effects of climate change, and ensure effective management of the region’s natural resources.
Building Technological Resilience
The goal is to promote innovative, technology driven economies and societies in the Region.
Attention will be given to bringing technology to the people, transforming people into Digital Citizens and Digital Entrepreneurs, developing a single and secure CARICOM ICT Space.
Strengthening the Caribbean Identity and Spirit of Community
The goal is to recapture and strengthen the Spirit of Community.
Strengthening Governance Arrangements within CARICOM
The goal is to have effective and efficient governance arrangements to support good decision making, successful implementation of the regional agenda, and full accountability by all.