Belize will be hosting heads of CARICOM in the 27th inter-sessional meeting to be held in Placencia on the 16 and 17 of February. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Dean Borrow and it is expected that the Heads of Government that will be attending the meeting will discuss several pressing issues that are currently affecting the region. As we speak the opening session of the meeting is taking place.
One important issue that will be discussed at the meeting is the advancement in the regional response to the Zika Virus considering that just two weeks ago the World Health organization (WHO) declared ZIKA as a public health emergency of international concern and the fact that at least five CARICOM member states have diagnosed cases of ZIKA virus. The Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is also expected to be present at the meeting to provide assistance in determining future actions in the ZIKA Virus fight, seeing that they are the leading organization that has been providing testing, prevention and control guidance to members of CARICOM member states.
Another topic expected to be discussed is the Paris agreement on Climate Change, which is a global agreement on the reduction of climate change as an existential issue for the region. The Caribbean Community now faces the challenge to use the agreement as the basis for future climate action. This is expected to include improving national and regional capacities to make use of the emerging opportunities.
Also expected to continue deliberations is the implications of the regional banking sector from the loss of correspondent banking relationships from larger banks in the US and Europe. The most concerning issue is the region being labeled as high- risk for financial issues such as money laundering and funding for terrorism.
The inter-sessional meeting will begin with a short opening session tonight, which will be addressed by Prime Minister Dean Barrow as the chairman of CARICOM and outgoing chairman Freundel Stuart and CARICOM secretary-general Irwin LaRocque.
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