July 26, 2012 – Saint Lucia Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) H.E. Menissa Rambally convened a meeting of the CARICOM Caucus of Permanent Representatives on Thursday to introduce the U.N. Deputy Secretary-General, H.E. Jan Eliasson who recently assumed the post as the second highest ranking U.N. official after the Secretary General. Ambassador Rambally took the helm of the rotating chair of the CARICOM Caucus at the beginning of July.
Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson previously served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Darfur, as Sweden’s Ambassador to the United States, and Permanent Representive to the U.N. He also served as his country’s Foreign Minister. Additionally, he was elected as President of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly two years following the presidency of former General Assembly President Julian R. Hunte of St. Lucia who chaired the 58th session.
Ambassador Rambally explained that the special meeting with the Deputy Secretary-General was held for the purpose of discussing issues before the United Nations of specific relevance to CARICOM countries. “In this connection,” she said “CARICOM Ambassadors have taken a decision to conduct periodic meetings with senior level United Nations officials to ensure that the regional perspective is well known at the highest levels of the U.N. system.”
The meeting with the Deputy Secretary-General focused on issues relating to economic and social development, and how the U.N. system could further assist the developing countries, in particular small island states. Of particular note was the discussion on the role of specific U.N. agencies in the development process including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), among other U.N. bodies.
Ambassador Rambally pointed out that “these U.N. institutions can play a vital role in assisting member states in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have been identified by the international community as the primary measure to enhance the quality of life in our countries.”
She noted that the meeting “also examined the elements of the outcomes of the International Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which convened in Brazil last June, and how the decisions taken at those multilateral deliberations can be given effect in our region.”
In conclusion, Ambassador Rambally indicated that the Caucus of CARICOM Ambassadors and the Deputy Secretary-General “would remain in close communication moving forward, and especially in the run up to the next session of the U.N. General Assembly which begins in September where critical economic and development issues will be addressed by the international community at the highest level.”