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The Second Committee Delegate of the
Permanent Mission of the Republic of
Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations
on behalf of the Caribbean Community
and Common Market (CARICOM) member states
On Agenda item 100- Globalization and Interdependence
United Nations General Assembly
New York, October 24,2000.
I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the fourteen(14) member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM): Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, that are members of the United Nations. In doing so, we associate ourselves with the statement made by the representative of Nigeria on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
CARICOM member states appreciate the report of the Secretary General(A/55/381) which addresses issues related to the transfer of Information and Communications Technology(ICT) in this period of globalization. The recommendations contained therein aimed at promoting the role of the UN in the transfer of ICT and enhancing ICT components in regional and national capacity programmes of the UN system should be carefully examined by this committee with a view to adopting some of these recommendations.
CARICOM countries played an active role in the fifty -third session of the General Assembly during which agreement was reached to place this important issue of Globalization and Interdependence on the agenda, as we have been the early recipients of its negative consequences. Since that time we have been working assiduously with the rest of the international community to define the role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence. Our concerns and needs were recognized and a series of actions agreed upon by the SIDS Special Session held last year, followed by the South Summit and the Millennium Summit to facilitate our integration into the global economy. We look forward to the early implementation of these decisions.
The pivotal role of ICT is one which equally concerns us. The report of the Secretary General accurately notes the critical need for access to ICT by developing countries. ICT has become a source of competitive advantage embedded within the productive process in this knowledge-based global economy which “affects everybody, but does not include everybody.” Due to this fact the panel of experts convened by the Secretary General in April this year concluded that a global response is required to ensure that the benefits of ICT would be shared by all. The current trend which shows that 19% of the global population which reside in the developed countries comprise 91% of all internet users is quite disturbing. The challenge posed by the panel to bring connectivity to all communities by the end of the year 2004 should be urgently pursued.
While ICT is an important component in enhancing competitiveness and growth in key sectors of our national economies, it must be combined with other factors such as market access for our goods and services; financial and technical assistance; and Foreign Direct Investment to support our development efforts to achieve sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty. ICT in itself will not meet our development challenges. CARICOM countries are faced with inherent vulnerabilities reflected in the constraints imposed by small size, small population, limited resource endowments, dependence on primary products and the implications of these factors for overall competitiveness.
This has been recognized in the special and differential treatment we have received in international agreements such as the Lome Convention. For example, some of our Caribbean states uniquely depend on bananas for their economic survival. For the small Windward islands of Dominica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, bananas provide over half of their export earnings. They also contribute to about 16 percent of GDP in Saint Lucia and 17 percent in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica. Such a degree of dependence cannot be ignored in our trading relationships with our developed partners. Efforts to diversify into new areas of economic activity such as the provision of financial services are being challenged by our more developed partners.
In this increasing liberalized and globalized economy special and differential treatment must be granted to meet new policy demands and obligations which we must fulfill. We are however confronted by a changing WTO environment in which this principle is being phased out. Our experience has shown a decline in the delivery of foreign investment flows, trade access and the transfer of technology which are fundamental to our development needs. We have witnessed instability in the financial sector in the absence of adequate institutional arrangements to manage the process, a reduction in Official Development Assistance and increasing marginalization of small states in the multilateral trading system. CARICOM countries also continue to bear the brunt of the environmental challenges in sustaining our future. Ecological vulnerabilities, in particular, susceptibility to natural disasters, seriously negate our efforts to achieve sustained economic growth. Our economic and ecological vulnerabilities are further compounded with the challenges posed by globalization and trade liberalization. A flexible application of a broader set of criteria is needed to ensure that small States like CARICOM States qualify for special treatment in trade and development assistance in order to promote economic sustainability and long-term growth.
While we have focused in this Committee on aspects of globalization linked to market liberalization and integration into the global economy, such as ICT, it is equally relevant to address the social and political impacts of globalization. There is a need to reshape financial and trade institutions which guide the process of globalization and develop capacities to deal with this phenomenon at both national and international levels. We must strive for greater coherence in international policymaking due to the interrelatedness of trade, monetary and financial policy with social and environmental issues. Developing countries must formulate a positive agenda and assume the role of a proactive partner in the globalization process. We in the Caribbean are committed to the concept of trade liberalization because it is essential to growth and development. We believe in an open, free and fair international trading system in which benefits are equitably distributed and which enables developing countries to achieve sustained levels of economic development. We must therefore ensure that the political infrastructure to manage this process is based on principles of justice and equity and also ensures that mutual interests are preserved. CARICOM countries stand ready to play our part.
I thank you.