US Secretary of State holds roundtable with CARICOM foreign ministers

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Frederic J. Brown/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met virtually on Wednesday with foreign ministers from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states “to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to working with all countries in the region to advance bilateral and regional interests.”

The State Department said foreign ministers from Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago participated in the event, along with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. 

“Secretary Blinken emphasized the strong partnership between the United States and the Caribbean, plans to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and promote a regional economic recovery, cooperation on increasing climate resilience, and continued collaborations on strengthening security, democratic values and human rights,” said the U.S. State Department in a statement.

The meeting came ahead of President Joe Biden’s invitation of two Caribbean prime ministers to his “Leaders Summit on Climate” to take place virtually at the White House on Thursday and Friday.

   A White House statement said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his Jamaican counterpart, Andrew Holness, are invited to the summit among 40 world leaders.

The White House noted that President Biden “took action” his first day in office to return the United States to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

 Days later, on Jan. 27, he announced that he would soon convene a leaders summit “to galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis,” the White House said.

It said that the “Leaders Summit on Climate” will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. 

“It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow (Scotland),” the statement said.

In recent years, it said scientists have underscored the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

“A key goal of both the ‘Leaders Summit’ and COP26 will be to catalyze efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach,” the White House said. “The summit will also highlight examples of how enhanced climate ambition will create good paying jobs, advance innovative technologies, and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.”

By the time of the summit, the White House said the United States will announce an ambitious 2030 emissions target as its new “Nationally Determined Contribution” under the Paris Agreement. 

In his invitation, Biden urged leaders to use the summit as “an opportunity to outline how their countries also will contribute to stronger climate ambition.”

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