Caribbean and U.S. set to cooperate on ‘zero hunger plan’

Caricom and the United States will soon launch a zero hunger plan to promote food and nutrition security in the Caribbean.

Brian A. Nichols, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs at the United States department of state, said this is one of the outcomes from Summit of the Americas staged earlier this month in the American city of Los Angeles.

“During the Summit, the President (Joe Biden) and Vice-President (Kamala Harris) co-hosted their Caribbean counterparts for an in-depth and substantive meeting that will further strengthen our partnerships with the region,” Nichols said in a media statement released through the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown.

“Our Caribbean neighbours spoke of their economic challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of climate change, food and energy insecurity, and lack of access to low-cost financing.

“Seized with these challenges, President Biden and Vice-President Harris committed to working with Caricom and the Dominican Republic to form three high-level committees tasked with developing immediate and concrete, joint, and near-term solutions.”

Nichols will co-chair one of the committees that addresses the critical issue of food security for the U.S.

“Food and nutrition insecurity are on the rise in the Caribbean, with approximately 67.5 per cent of the population experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity,” he said.

“To address these challenges, the U.S. and Caricom will launch a Caribbean Zero Hunger Plan to promote food and nutrition security in the Caribbean. President Biden also announced the U.S. will provide U.S. $28 million in new food security assistance to Caribbean countries.”

Nichols said the White House also pledged to strengthen engagement with the Caribbean on energy and climate change.

“Building on Vice-President Harris’ April 29, 2022, meeting with Caribbean leaders, the United States launched the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030) to facilitate renewable energy infrastructure development, including by increasing access to financing, and to bolster the region’s resilience to climate based natural disasters,” he said.

“The leaders stressed the need to strengthen security cooperation and engagement, including countering small arms trafficking. The United States and Caribbean countries will build on the long-standing Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) through broader engagement in combatting trafficking in persons, cyber security, and cyber crime.”

Nichols said the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Caricom member states support the development of national action plans to counter firearms trafficking.

He added the three parties also agree on the importance of acceding to the Treaty of San José, concerning illicit maritime and air narcotics trafficking.

“These national action plans will help the U.S. more effectively tailor our support to CBSI member countries to address trafficking of illegal handguns and assault weapons throughout the region,” he said.

“This treaty provides states with a valuable legal mechanism that facilitates international cooperation to disrupt illicit maritime trafficking and transnational criminal organisations in the Caribbean. We encourage Caribbean countries that have not yet acceded to the Treaty to consider doing so.”


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