Belize – home to key CARICOM Regional Institutions
Sunday, February 14th, 2016
Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
Through its role as a Centre of Excellence, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) supports the people of the Caribbean as they address the impact of climate variability and change on all aspects of economic development through the provision of timely forecasts and analyses of potentially hazardous impacts of both natural and man-induced climatic changes ono the environment, and the development of special programmes which create opportunities for sustainable development.
The Five C’s, as the Centre is called, coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre, based in Belize, is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean.
It is the official repository and clearing house for regional climate change data, providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. It has also been recognised by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as a Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. This reputation is a major honour for the Centre, and it should be a great source of prude for the people of the Caribbean as well.
Due to its susceptibility to climate change, CARICOM has traditionally been a main supporter of climate-related initiatives. This was demonstrated early on through its strong support of the UNFCCC, an international environmental treaty that was created in 1992.
At an Intersessional Meeting which took place in Belize in February 2002, CARICOM Heads of Government approved the establishment of the Centre and signed a protocol to allow the Centre to function as a legal entity. The follow-up to the CPACC project, the Adapting to Climate Change in the Caribbean (ACCC) project, which lasted from 2001 to 2004, promoted the further evolution of the Centre by providing the resources to develop a comprehensive business plan and strategy to ensure its financial sustainability.
In February 2004, the Centre became fully functional from its first home in the University of Belize in Belmopan. In 2005, the Centre moved to its own space in the Lawrence Nicholas Building in Belmopan. The official opening of the Centre took place on August 2, 2005.
One example of the Centre’s role and contribution to the Community’s development can be found in its participation, in 2015, at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 21 Negotiations in Paris, France. The Centre was instrumental in ensuring that the Caribbean Region was well represented and prepared to engage in negotiations regarding what climate change issues mean to the region. With assistance from various partners, the Centre formatted a Declaration on Climate Change which was adopted by the CARICOM Heads of Government and was the blueprint for the region’s position for the negotiations. The team of delegates was led by the Executive Director of CCCCC, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, and International and Regional Liaison Officer, Carlos Fuller, who represented Belize at the convention. The Centre also mounted a Caribbean-wide pavilion that showcased the regional countries’ vulnerability to climate change and the efforts they are undertaking to address climate change and to convene a strategy of adaptation to the.
CARIBBEAN REGIONAL FISHERIES MECHANISM (CRFM)
The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) is a CARICOM institution that was established by the CARICOM Member States by the 2002 Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, which entered into force on 4 February 2002. Its role is to strengthen and promote Regional cooperation in the development, conservation and management of the fisheries and marine resources of the Caribbean Region, in accordance with relevant principles of international law. The CRFM has been coordinating research, data collection, assessment studies, the formulation of policy and management advice and capacity-building initiatives in the Region. The CRFM has emerged as an internationally recognised regional fisheries body whose input and contribution are regularly sought at the international level in respect of fisheries and marine resource management issues.
There are currently 17 Member States of the CRFM. The membership consists of 14 independent Small Island Developing States (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago), and three British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands). In addition the CRFM has a formal relationship with the Dominican Republic through a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation on matters related to fisheries conservation, management and development. In addition, Bermuda and Curacao and a number of regional and international organisations including FAO, OECS, CNFO, UWI, have been accorded observer status with the CRFM.
The core budget of the CRFM is financed by annual subscription of the 17 Member States. The annual contribution of Member States over the past 5 years is approximately US$960,000.
Member States’ contributions are supplemented by bilateral and multi-lateral donor funding which are provided for the implementation of specific regional and sub-regional projects and occasionally national projects.
The CRFM contributes significantly to all aspects of fisheries management planning and decision-making in its Member States, including data collection, analysis and data management, research, dissemination of scientific and technical information, preparation of national fisheries management plans, and strengthening national capacity for management. The CRFM also contributes significantly to the efforts of ICCAT in the Caribbean by coordinating data collection and research on the tunas and tuna-like species of interest to ICCAT, and facilitating information exchange and reporting and general interaction between CRFM Member States and ICCAT. The CRFM Secretariat participates in the annual scientific and Commission Meetings of ICCAT providing technical support to its Member States present and represents the interest of those that are not present.
Institutions of the Community
In responding to the need to prioritise certain social and economic issues, the Community has established a number of institutions and has formed linkages with several partners.
Institutions named in the Revised Treaty are:
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) (replaced by CDEMA);
- Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI);
- Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO);
- Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI)*;
- Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI);
- Caribbean Regional Centre for the Education and Training of Animal Health and Veterinary Public Health Assistants (REPAHA) (no longer in operation)
- Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians (ACCP);
- Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD);
- Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI)*
*incorporated into CARPHA
Institutions subsequently designated by the Conference –
Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC);
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA);
Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS);
CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS);
Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA);
Caribbean Knowledge Learning Network Agency (CKLNA);
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA);
Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU)
Other organisations established by CARICOM, but not yet formally designated –
CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) – established pursuant to Article 67.5 of the Treaty;
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM);
Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators (COTA)
Other organisations established by CARICOM, but not yet formally designated –
- CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) – established pursuant to Article 67.5 of the Treaty;
- Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM);
- Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC)
- Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators (COTA)
Associate Institutions of the Community are:
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB);
- University of Guyana (UG);
- University of the West Indies (UWI);
- Caribbean Law Institute and its Centre (CLI/CLIC);
- Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat.
Among the key partners in the integration process are the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL); the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC); and the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC).
Faced with a multiplicity of negotiations, the Community sought to streamline its negotiating structures. Thus, in 1997, the Caribbean Regional Negotiation Machinery (CRNM) was established to coordinate the Community’s external negotiations. The major areas of focus are negotiations for: the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union as part of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP); and at the level of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In March 2009, the Heads of Government agreed to incorporate the CRNM into the CARICOM Secretariat as a Specialised Department, and, at their July 2009 Summit, agreed to redesignate the CRNM, the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN).
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
The idea of a Caribbean Supreme Court is not a new one. From as early as the beginning of the twentieth century, opinions were being expressed in support of such a court, and at a meeting in 1947, West Indian governors reflected on the need for a West Indian Court of Appeal.
Since then, at varying intervals, suggestions were made for such a supreme court.
At the Twelfth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference in 2001, in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Heads of Government signed the Agreement for the Establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), emphasising the central role of the Court in providing legal certainty to the operations of the CSME.
The CCJ is structured to have two jurisdictions – an original and an appellate. In its original jurisdiction, the Court is an international tribunal with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction for the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty. In this regard, it is tasked with the responsibility to hear and deliver judgment on:
- Disputes arising between Contracting Parties to the Agreement;
• Disputes between contracting parties and the Community;
• Disputes between Community nationals, contracting parties, and Community institutions, or between nationals themselves.
In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals in both civil and criminal matters from courts within the jurisdiction of Member States.
The CCJ’s mission is set out as follows: “the Caribbean Court of Justice shall perform to the highest standards as the supreme judicial organ in the Caribbean Community. In its original jurisdiction it ensures uniform interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, thereby underpinning and advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As the final court of appeal for Member States of the Caribbean Community it fosters the development of an indigenous Caribbean jurisprudence”.
The Court was inaugurated on 16 April, 2005, in Trinidad and Tobago where it is headquartered.
At the 20th Inter-Sessional Meeting in March 2009, in Belize, Prime Minister the Hon. Dean Barrow announced that his country would join Barbados and Guyana in participating in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ. He issued the Orders to bring into force the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act and the Caribbean Court of Justice Act. The Orders were published in Belize’s Gazette on 1 May 2010. With the Orders in effect, the CCJ replaced the London Privy Council as the highest Court of Appeal for Belize. In March 2015, Dominica became the fourth CARICOM Member State to give effect to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.
Heads of Government agreed to constitute a quasi-cabinet with individual Heads of Government having responsibility for critical portfolios. These are:
- SERVICES – Antigua and Barbuda
- TOURISM (including Land, Cruise, ACP/EU Partnership Agreement Provisions etc.) – The Bahamas
- SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY (Including Monetary Union) – Barbados
- JUSTICE AND GOVERNANCE – Belize
- LABOUR (including intra-Community Movement of Skills) – Dominica
- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (including Information and Communications) – Grenada
- AGRICULTURE, AGRICULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION AND FOOD SECURITY (including the Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) – and Bananas) – Guyana
- EXTERNAL TRADE NEGOTIATIONS – Jamaica
- HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS – St. Kitts and Nevis
- SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (including Environment and Disaster Management and Water) – Saint Lucia
- TRANSPORT (Maritime and Aviation) – St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL COOPERATION (including Culture, Gender, Youth and Sport) – Suriname
- ENERGY – Trinidad and Tobago
- SECURITY (Drugs and Illicit Arms) – Trinidad and Tobago
The introduction of the CARICOM passport is seen as an important symbol of Regionalism and visible proof of common identity. It is intended that the CARICOM passport will create awareness that CARICOM Nationals are Nationals of the Community, as well as a specific country. It is also part of the measure to promote hassle-free travel for CARICOM nationals. The format for this passport as outlined below was agreed by Heads of Government:
- The cover will have the logo of CARICOM and the words ‘Caribbean Community’.
- The Coat of Arms and the name of the Member State will also be featured on the cover.
Thus far, the following countries have issued the CARICOM passport:
- Suriname – January 2005
- St Vincent and the Grenadines – 2005
- St Kitts and Nevis – 2005
- Dominica – 2005
- Antigua and Barbuda – 2006
- Saint Lucia –2007
- Trinidad and Tobago – 2007
- Grenada – 2007
- Guyana – 2007
- Barbados – 2007
- Jamaica – 2009
- Belize – 2009
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