MERIDA, Mexico -- The sixth summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) opened on Wednesday in the Mexican city of Merida in Yucatan Province, where Latin American and Caribbean leaders will discuss how best to deepen and strengthen bilateral and multilateral ties.
The ACS was a mechanism for wider Caribbean cooperation created in July 1994 with the signing of the Treaty of Cartagena and this milestone will also be celebrated by the leaders, who are in Mexico for a historic ‘double summit’ that also includes Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders.
Delegations from ACS member states, under the chairmanship of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, are expected to underline the importance of its work in areas such as comprehensive disaster risk management, improving connectivity in the region, trade, economic relations and sustainable tourism.
The ACS’ Mexico summit agenda includes a review of compliance with the plan of action emanating from the Declaration of Petion Ville, Haiti (adopted in 2013 at the conclusion of its fifth Summit), which seeks to enhance cooperation in the wider Caribbean to support sustainable development of the region.
The ACS, currently chaired by México, comprises: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Bahamas, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and México.
Since the ACS’ founding, México has promoted cooperation projects that reaffirm its interest and membership in the region.
At the meeting in Merida, delegations will today discuss and approve new projects presented by Mexico on geospatial information, territorial information, international transit of goods and short-distance transportation.
It is expected that at the end of the sixth summit, member states of the ACS will adopt the Declaration of Merida, with the final agreements of the meeting.
Mexico also on Tuesday hosted the third Mexico-CARICOM summit
Peña Nieto met his CARICOM counterparts and they discussed ways of continuing the program of Mexico’s cooperation and to identify new areas of interest for the Caribbean.
The leaders also reviewed the Mexico-CARICOM technical and scientific cooperation program for 2012-2013, as well as progress in reducing the risk of natural disasters.
A new triangular cooperation program for agricultural development in the Caribbean was also presented.
In May 2012, the second Mexico-CARICOM summit was held in Barbados, where a joint declaration was adopted, for the strategic importance of the relationship between México and the regional bloc.
The Caribbean Community was created on July 4, 1973, with the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the original cooperation agreement between México and CARICOM was signed on July 30, 1974.
Peña Nieto and his fellow heads of state and government of the region hope the two meetings will boost the process of regional integration and cooperation.