THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome. It’s good to see so many of you again. It has been a point of – of pride and joy for me personally that we have had many conversations over a short period of time where we have renewed the commitment between our nations to work together.
As you know, I first convened the leaders of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic in April and proposed – based on the conversation we had – that we meet more regularly at the future, having heard the leaders at this table talk about the need to ensure that we have consistency in the way we communicate and collaborate.
We then met at the Summit of the Americas in June, where the president — President Biden and I proposed three joint committees between our nations, focusing in particular on the issue of energy security, finance, and food security.
Each committee was co-chaired by a Caribbean leader and a senior member of our administration. And the goal of every committee, as it’s designed, is to make sure that we collaborate on these issues and that we produce concrete, short-term solutions to the work that we do.
And I am proud to report that this work has indeed taken place, and that we will announce today a series of actions that the United States will take in response to the needs of our Caribbean partners.
On the issue of the climate crisis, two of the committees – energy security and finance, in particular – have produced actions that will respond to the climate crisis, which, of course, is an existential crisis for our planet. And the Caribbean is on the front line of this crisis.
We will take action to accelerate the implementation of what we have called the United States-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis, also known as PACC 2030, which I launched at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
The United States, to that end, has engaged in four areas in particular. First, identify new clean energy projects; provide technical assistance to our partners in the Caribbean; attract investors to the Caribbean; and improving access to development finance, which has been the subject of much discussion at our previous meetings. And we’re sending a team, in fact, to the Caribbean this fall to kick-start that process.
On the issue of food security: we know that the disruptions caused by Russian aggression…Russian aggression in Ukraine, the pandemic and, of course, the climate crisis have put pressure on global food prices and have led to food shortages.
Addressing food security in the Caribbean and globally is a priority for our administration. Since we met at the Summit of the Americas, the work has already begun. The United States has committed $28 million to provide food security assistance in the Caribbean.
In pursuit of this, the Food Security Committee, after meeting and working these months, has developed a series of actions that the United States will take. In particular, we will promote good agricultural practices and do all we can to improve these practices in the Caribbean.
We will help remove logistical barriers to transportation. And as we know, this is a very important detail when it comes to fighting food insecurity everywhere, and especially in the Caribbean.
We will eliminate non-tariff barriers to facilitate the movement of food in the region.
We will integrate climate-smart technology into food protection system and food production system.
And we will provide training on areas such as pest control – a very important detail and something that needs to be addressed.
In conclusion, I will say, as I have said before, that the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean is based on ties and common interests. As neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, we believe it is essential that we have a relationship based on close cooperation, knowing that the result will be our shared prosperity and security, which is why we, the United, we are committed to increasing our engagement and engagement with our Caribbean partners.
So, again, welcome. I thank you. And I look forward to our discussion at our meeting this afternoon.
And I will now turn to President Santokhi of Suriname to talk about your role as President of CARICOM and so much more.
Thanks and welcome again.