News and Press Release
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Cartagena, Republic of Colombia, January 20-22, 2010

The Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States:

Recognizing with profound grief and dismay the events of January 12, 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the city of Port au Prince, the capital city of the Republic of Haiti and its surrounding areas taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of persons, leaving countless wounded, and causing material damage and losses that will be difficult to quantify;

Expressing sincere condolences to the People and Government of the Republic of Haiti for the extraordinarily tragic loss of life and injury that has occurred;

Recognizing that this earthquake has compounded the challenges faced by the people of Haiti in their recovery and reconstruction efforts following the hurricanes of 2008;

Acknowledging with deep concern that Haiti's efforts toward recovery will be a challenge which will impact severely on its achievement of sustainable development, including the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals;

Taking into consideration that the Association of Caribbean States is an organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action among the States and Territories of the Greater Caribbean;

Taking into account the principles of regional solidarity and cooperation as agreed to by Member States of the Association of Caribbean States, and as enshrined in the Convention Establishing the Association, and in particular paragraph 1 of Article III of the Convention which defines the Association as one for consultation and concerted action in response to the particular and diverse needs of its Members;

Recognizing that this is an era characterized by the increase in cooperation and cultural, economic, political, scientific, social and technical relations among the States and Territories, and convinced that increased cooperation among them, based on their shared geographic and historical ties, shall contribute to the future cultural, economic and social development of their peoples, transcending the separation of the past;

Recalling the importance of the Declaration of Saint Marc to the Greater Caribbean, and highlighting the correlation between the eradication of poverty and disaster prevention;

Recognizing that the fight against poverty and social exclusion is essential to promote and consolidate democracy and development;

Recognizing the vulnerability of the countries and territories to natural disasters and the negative impact of these events on sustainable development efforts, and that the best way to reduce such vulnerabilities is to incorporate disaster management and risk reduction into development and planning policies at all levels of our governments,

Recalling the agreed outcomes of the 4th Summit of Heads of State and/or Government of the Association of Caribbean States, convened in Panama City, Panama in 2004, and in particular decisions taken with regards to rendering action to promote democracy, and the economic and social development of Haiti;

Acknowledges with deep concern that the current crisis has only just begun and the country's efforts toward recovering will be an immense challenge, characterized by additional obstacles in the social and economic fields faced by the Haitian People;

Expresses its concern over the damages and losses incurred, both human and material, which will impact severely on Haiti's aspirations to achieve sustainable development, including meeting the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals;

Pledges to strengthen regional and international co-operation in the area of disaster mitigation, facilitating humanitarian aid and the promotion of a culture of prevention including early warning systems;

Invites all the countries of the region to provide aid to Haiti including through the sharing of experiences and lessons learned in the fields of reconstruction and development, acknowledging the important support that can be given to Haiti through South-South Cooperation;

Acknowledges the immediate response of the regional and international community, in providing essential emergency relief to Haiti, both human and material, particularly the assistance provided by those with personnel already on the ground;

Appeals to the International Community to honor its commitments of financial assistance made to Haiti and urges donors to provide new and additional resources to enable that nation to address and effectively manage the current situation.

Calls on Haiti?s international creditors to find ways through which debt obligations can be cancelled. In that respect, the Council welcomes the recent decision made by the Paris Club of creditor nations to that effect;

Calls for the effective coordination of regional and international aid initiatives and for effective mechanisms for the delivery of such aid to ensure that the emergency assistance and the long-term reconstruction and development processes, including the reduction of poverty, respond to Haiti?s national development priorities;

Calls on all ACS Member and Associate States, Observers and Social Partners, as well as the International Community, to provide Haiti, without delay, with financial, technical and human resources sufficient to effectively implement the emergency support operations;

Appeals to all ACS Member and Associate States, Observers and Social Partners, as well as the International Community to provide Haiti with the requisite financial and technical support which will assist that country in the medium and long term efforts to achieve reconstruction and sustainable development as well as to assist Haiti in the building of capacity towards self-reliance;

Instructs the Secretary General to inform the Council of the implementation of this agreement through the meetings of the corresponding subsidiary organs.

About the ACS

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba , France on behalf of French Guiana , Guadeloupe , and Martinique , and the Netherlands Antilles .

For further information, please contact:

Lisa-Marie Achee

Communications Officer

Association of Caribbean States

E-mail: communications@acs-aec.org

Tel : 1-868-622-9575

Fax : 1-868-622-1653