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Caribbean Updates: Kingston Talks end without agreement (June 14, 2023)

Kingston Talks end without agreement
Just Caribbean Updates

Three days of high-level talks between interim Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and a cross-section of about 50 Haitian political and civic leaders ended in Jamaica this week without a resolution to their country’s multifaceted crisis. The parties agreed to continue discussions in Port-au-Prince, reports the Miami Herald.

The CARICOM-mediated “Kingston Talks”, aided by Canada and the United States, took place for three days this week, and sought to reach a “Haitian-led” solution to the country’s ongoing humanitarian, political, and security emergency. The negotiations were facilitated by three former Caribbean prime ministers — Perry Christie of The Bahamas, Bruce Golding of Jamaica and Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia. They will travel to Haiti for future talks.

“The unresolved core issue in closed-door discussions, which at times became heated, remained: How, in the absence of a president or a parliament, should Haiti be governed?” writes Jacqueline Charles in the Miami Herald.

“There appear to be disparate goals from the various actors in Kingston, including from the international community”, according to CEPR. “Whereas Haiti’s main political parties and civil society actors have stated their desire for a broader political accord, Henry and some international officials appear to be more focused on building support for Henry and for a subsequent international security intervention.”

In his remarks during the opening session, Haitian interim prime minister Ariel Henry stated his intention “to listen” to the discussions taking place without moving beyond the December 21 accord, which remains contentious among many political and civil society actors, reports CEPR.

A number of Haitian human rights and civil society organizations issued an urgent appeal outlining a rights based approach to the current crises. They called for the creation of a new, legitimate transitional government and a “Haitian-Led Reparations Process”.

Jamaica suspended consular services in Haiti, following an attack on a car dealership where the country’s Port-au-Prince consulate is located, on Monday. (Miami Herald)

Decolonisation and Reparations

  • Nations impacted by slavery are owed trillions of dollars, according to a comprehensive study on the quantification of reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean. The study illuminates the scale of restitution owed to nations that have endured the enduring legacy of slavery, reports The Jamaica Gleaner.

Climate and Environmental Justice

  • Despite the Caribbean region’s abundant renewable energy resources, the region’s transition away from fossil fuels remains a distant goal. A recent report published by Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, discusses how to unlock the Caribbean’s renewable energy potential and accelerate the shift towards clean energy.

  • “Caribbean and African SIDS’ International Investment Agreements and Climate Action”, a policy brief authored by Alicia Nicholls, delves into the analysis of the International Investment Agreements of Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean and Africa — Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services Institute

  • Jamaica’s Court of Appeal quashed legal injunction restraining mining company Noranda’s activities in St. Ann Section, opening the area to bauxite extraction. The injunction had been put in place due to concerns surrounding the environmental impact and potential effects on the local community, reports The Jamaica Gleaner.

  • Climate change poses a significant threat to the Caribbean’s livestock sector, exacerbating the vulnerability of already fragile agricultural systems and undermining the region’s food security. Climate Tracker emphasizes the urgent need for adaptive measures to protect this vital sector, with country-specific articles (below).

  • Persistent drought conditions in Antigua and Barbuda, driven by climate change, have resulted in the downsizing of livestock farms. With limited water availability and reduced forage resources, farmers have been compelled to reduce their livestock herds. The scarcity of water and nutritious feed adversely affects the health and productivity of the remaining livestock, posing significant challenges to the sustainability of the sector. (Climate Tracker)

  • Climate change has brought about worsening droughts and reduced precipitation in Puerto Rico, leading to a scarcity of grass for cattle to graze on, impacting their health and well-being. Farmers are forced to explore alternative feeding methods and seek additional sources of feed, increasing their operational costs and adding to the economic strain on the industry. (Climate Tracker)

  • Rising sea levels in Suriname pose a significant threat, potentially leading to saltwater intrusion into freshwater sources, making them unsuitable for livestock consumption. Moreover, increased vulnerability to natural disasters, such as floods and storms, puts livestock farms at risk, damaging infrastructure and leading to the loss of animals. Livestock farmers in Suriname are increasingly calling upon the government to take decisive action, reports Climate Tracker.

  • Climate change poses significant challenges to Jamaica’s artisanal fishers, threatening their livelihoods and the sustainability of the fisheries sector. (Climate Tracker)

  • The agriculture sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is bearing the brunt of climate change impacts, undermining one of the country’s vital economic pillars in the country, which serves as a source of livelihood for numerous farmers and entrepreneurs, reports Climate Tracker.

Food Security

  • Efforts to scale-up food production, in both Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, have been affected by rising sea levels, soil degradation and increasingly extreme weather events like floods. This means strategic action in order to ensure that food producers in these countries become more climate resilient is critical, according to Cari-Bois Environmental Network. (Via Global Voices)

Women’s Rights

  • Abortion legalization is a topic of conversation in Jamaica, where Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte has said it won’t happen “on her watch”. The Caribbean Policy Research Institute draws attention to a 2020 report that found that complications from unsafe abortions burden the public health system and exact economic, societal, familial, & individual costs. The familial and individual costs are disproportionately borne by poor, vulnerable women and their dependents.

  • Puerto Rico’s enduring colonialist legacy is often at the root of the island’s gender-based violence, which ranks among the highest in the world, argues Anjanette Delgado in the New York Times.

  • Sexual themes are prevalent in Trinidad and Tobago popular culture, yet comprehensive sexual education is lacking in the school curriculum. This gap is identified as one of the factors contributing to the violence experienced by women in the country, according to L’actualité.

Democracy and Governance

  • Guyanese historian Nigel Westmaas discusses the political landscape in Guyana in an opinion piece that argues the ruling party has implemented a transactional approach to governance, characterized by a desire for control and the marginalization of other ethnic groups and organizations. (Demerara Waves)

Migration

  • There are 160 refugees and asylum-seekers from over 15 countries under the UNHCR’s mandate in Cuba, el Toque explores the little known issue of migrants in Cuba, mainly from Western Sahara, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, and Yemen.

Economics and Finance

  • “We need to eradicate the workshop culture that we have in capacity building. Capacity building is more than sitting down in a four-day workshop and having breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided to you. It is about retention of capacity within places like SIDS that have no capacity. … How do you move from the parachute consultant, coming and saying they’re building capacity and then leaving? Is that impact?” — Michai Robertson, Senior Finance Advisor to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Chair during #SB58, via LinkedIn.

  • Jamaica is one of the first countries being visited by new World Bank President Ajay Banga on a months-long global tour starting this week, which is being described as a new playbook for the 78-year-old institution. (Jamaica Observer)

Children’s Rights

  • An estimated 30,000 Haitian children live in hundreds of orphanages where reports of forced labor, trafficking, and physical and sexual abuse are rampant. Haiti’s government has stepped up efforts to remove hundreds of these children and reunite them with their parents or relatives as part of a massive push to shut down the institutions, the vast majority of which are privately owned, reports the Associated Press.

Events

  • 14 June: Transforming Guyana, Season II, Episode I: Revenue Sharing in the Emerging Guyanese Oil and Gas Economy. The Guyana Business Journal &The Caribbean Policy Consortium. Register

  • 17 June: 8th Meeting of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Food and Water Sovereignty. Hosted by the International Indian Treaty Council (Via zoom)  Register

  • 20 June: “Questioning Disaster Capitalism in the Caribbean: What is it? Who does it hurt? How can we resist?” Webinar organized by the Caribbean Open Society Foundations via Zoom. Register.
Opportunities

  • Apply to the Island Innovation Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy — an interactive course, which will run from mid-July 2023 to January 2024. Throughout the course, you will be able to acquire the right knowledge, cultivate a network of like-minded peers, and interact to accelerate action taking your vision and work to the next level.

  • Nominate Youth Representatives and Observers to the World Food Forum’s 2023 flagship event: Food Action accelerates Climate Action.

  • Apply — Expert in Climate Change and Resilience — Temporary Post — Department of Environment and Climate Action.

  • The International Refugee Assistance Project is currently accepting applications for a climate justice fellow position, collaborating closely with Ama Francis to devise a transformative project focused on establishing legal avenues for individuals displaced by climate change. More info.

Just Caribbean Updates
https://caribbeannewsupdates.blogspot.com/

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