UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to travel to Jamaica this weekend to attend a Caribbean summit and discuss regional efforts to achieve the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a UN spokesman announced here Wednesday.
Farhan Haq, the associate UN spokesman, told a daily news briefing that "the secretary-general will travel to Jamaica to attend the 31st Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which begins in Montego Bay on 4 July", DPA reported.
The secretary-general is expected to tell participants that the international community must act in concert in dealing with the impact of the global economic crisis, particularly its effects on the world's most vulnerable, he said.
The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was signed by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago and came into effect on Aug.1, 1973. Subsequently the other eight Caribbean territories joint CARICOM. The Bahamas became the 13th member state of the Community on July 4, 1983. Suriname became the 14th Member State of the Caribbean Community on July 4, 1995.
The regional body has 11 observers, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Venezuela.
Caricom aims at the eventual integration of its members and economies, and the creation of a common market. From its inception, the Community has concentrated on the promotion of the integration of the economies of member states, coordinating the foreign policies of the independent member states and in Functional Cooperation, especially in relation to various areas of social and human endeavor.
During his participation in the upcoming summit, Ban will also discuss the MDGs, which have a target date of 2015, and the need for Caribbean countries to accelerate progress towards the goals, which include slashing poverty, improving maternal health, fighting environmental degradation and boosting school attendance rates.
In September, the secretary-general is hosting a high-level event at UN Headquarters in New York that is aimed at charting the progress so far towards the MDGs and determining where attention and resources should be devoted between now and 2015.
In his address to the CARICOM gathering, Ban is also set to discuss UN efforts to support Haiti in the aftermath of January's catastrophic earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and left at least one million others homeless.
While visiting Jamaica, Ban will also have bilateral meetings with various heads of government from the Caribbean as well as representatives of regional organizations, Haq added.