Declaration 2013





Karibe Hotel, Pétion Ville, Haiti

April 26th, 2013





Revitalizing the Vision of the Association of Caribbean States

For a Stronger and more United Greater Caribbean


The Heads of State and/or Government of the States, Countries and Territories of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), meeting in Pétion Ville, Haiti, on the 26th day of April, 2013:

Committed to the principles and objectives set forth in the Convention Establishing the ACS.

Reaffirming their commitment to the Declaration of Principles and its Plan of Action emanating from the historic First Summit of ACS Heads of State and/or Government, held in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on August 17 and 18, 1995 and the priorities identified to promote regional co-operation and coordination among the Member States and Associate Members of the ACS;

Reaffirming their commitment to the Declaration of the Second Summit, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on April 16 and 17, 1999, which analyzed the progress made from Port of Spain to Santo Domingo, and determined the projection of the Caribbean Region into the 21st century; 

Reaffirming their commitment to the Declaration of the Third Summit, held in Margarita Island, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on December 11 and 12, 2001, which promoted the consolidation of a Greater Caribbean identity that would strengthen the ACS as a forum for consultation, concerted action and co-operation;

Reaffirming their commitment to the Declaration of the Fourth Summit, signed in Panama City, Republic of Panama, on July 29, 2005, which reflected upon the evolution of the ACS, its achievements and challenges on the occasion of its Tenth Anniversary;

Declare that they,

  1. Have met with the objective of ratifying the founding vision of the Association, and commit once again to consolidating and promoting it so that their efforts may lead to the development of successful co-operation policies, programmes and projects aimed at creating a stronger and more united Greater Caribbean.
  2. Are resolute with regard to the need to maintain the relevance of their Association as a body for consultation, concerted action, co-operation while stressing the relevance of its work in the domains of trade, sustainable tourism, transport, disaster risk reduction, in order to realize its space on the current multilateral and regional global sphere.
  3. Recognize the great wealth of the cultural diversity of the Caribbean Region and as a result, agree to intensify efforts in defence of their cultural identity, to protect and promote its expressions, given that culture and is one of the fundamental bases for cooperation in the Greater Caribbean.  In that regard, welcome the convening of the Caribbean Festival of Arts, “CARIFESTA XI”,  in the Republic of Suriname on August 16-25, 2013,  under the theme  “Culture for Development, Celebrating our Diversity and Promoting the Central Role of Culture in Economic, Social, and Human Development.”  Agree that this event is an opportune occasion for the expression and celebration of the greater cultural wealth and diversity in the Greater Caribbean. 
  4. Reiterate their will to accomplish the Mandates of previous Summits with regard to working in the areas of cultural patrimony, education, science and technology in the Greater Caribbean.
  5. Acknowledge the achievements of the ACS, as well as its efforts to attain them. It is important to continue to strengthen the Association’s capacity for bringing together all its countries and territories, so as to consolidate the ACS in the region, and to this end, promote the use of new information technologies.
  6. Reaffirm the need to have a strategy that would strengthen the Association’s programmes and projects, working together toward a common goal and with the primary objective of producing tangible results with an impact on regional development.
  7. Reiterate their conviction that democracy, based on popular participation, equitable economic and social development, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, and respect for the Rule of Law, is the essential principle which informs their governments.
  8. Reiterate their firm commitment to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, including the sovereignty of nations, the respect of their territorial integrity and the non-interference in their internal affairs and likewise reaffirming the right of each people to live in peace, stability and justice, and to define their own political system.
  9. In this context, they reiterate yet again their appeal to the Government of the United States of America to end the application of the Helms-Burton Law, in conformity with the 20 pertinent resolutions approved within the United Nations General Assembly, its most recent being No. A/RES/67/4 of November 2012, entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba – Report of the Secretary General (A/67/118)”, and to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against their sister nation, Cuba.
  10. Reaffirm their condemnation of all acts of terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, wherever they are committed and by whomever they are committed. They commit to continue reinforcing co-operation between states, in order to prevent, repress and eliminate this threat in an efficient manner.
  11. Reject strongly unilateral evaluations, lists and certifications, in particular, those referring to terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and others of similar nature
  12. Express their commitment to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), created in February 2010 at Riviera Maya, Mexico, and reaffirm the validity of the agreements outlined in the Foundational Summit of CELAC, held in Caracas, Venezuela in December 2011, as well as the Declaration of the 1st Summit of CELAC, adopted on January 28, 2013 in Santiago, Chile.
  13. Acknowledge the commitment expressed by the Heads of Government of CARICOM at their 23rd Intersessional Meeting, held in Suriname on March 8-9, 2012 for the CELAC process and applaud CARICOM’s efforts to foster and advance integration initiatives in the Region.
  14. Acknowledge the recognition of the ACS by CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) at its 15th Meeting in May 2012, at which it pledged to strengthen relations with the Association and continue close collaboration with, and active participation in, the Association.
  15. Recognize the integration efforts advanced in the region such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Central American Integration System (SICA), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA)-Exchange Treaty of the People (ALBA-ETP), PETROCARIBE, MesoAmerica Integration and Development Project, the Pacific Alliance, and Union of South American Nations (UNASUR),as integration schemes with high social content, based on the principles of social justice, complementarity and co-operation.
  16. Recognize the establishment of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Economic Union (OECS-EU) and the subsequent inauguration of the Regional Assembly of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in Antigua and Barbuda during the month of August 2012.
  17. Recognize the efforts of the international community in support of, and in solidarity with, Haiti, and urge the fulfilment of avowed commitments towards Haiti’s economic and social development and reconstruction efforts, in accordance with the interests and decisions of the Haitian Government.
  18. Take note of the results of the 24th Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of State and Governments of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held on February 18th and 19th, 2013 in Haiti.
  19. Reiterate their commitment to preserve the Caribbean Sea as the common patrimony of the people of the Region, and consider fundamental the permanence and consolidation of the Caribbean Sea Commission.  They recognize the contributions made in this regard by the Member States of the ACS, particularly Barbados during the terms served as Chair of the afore-mentioned Commission; as well as observer countries and institutions that have collaborated closely with the Commission.  They  welcome and take note of the international support and recognition received by the Caribbean Sea Commission, and in particular its mention in the Report of January 2012, published by the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.
  20. Reaffirm the importance of the Caribbean Sea as a resource for the economic development and well-being of their people, as well as the decision to continue to support the efforts of the ACS in developing and implementing regional initiatives for the protection and preservation of this patrimony.
  21. Recognizing that the international arena is enriched by an increase in the number of regional and international bodies and fora which provide new opportunities and horizons to initiate consultations and manage cooperation and funding, the ACS must use this opportunity to strengthen its relations with its existing partners, and intensify its efforts to forge new relations in order to increase cooperation. To that end, they encourage the Secretary General to capitalize on these new opportunities through the full utilization of the resources of the Secretariat.
  22. Instruct the immediate implementation by the Council of National Representatives of the Special Fund of Agreement 9/13, approved by the 18th Ordinary Meeting of the ACS Ministerial Council, for the strengthening of institutional, budgetary, and organizational aspects of the Special Fund, in accordance with its objectives.
  23. Recognize the vulnerability of Member States to disasters due to natural phenomena, and their negative impact on efforts geared toward achieving sustainable development.  It is therefore agreed that the best way to tackle this vulnerability is by incorporating comprehensive disaster risk management into all levels of public planning in our countries, including steps for regional and international co-operation.
  24. Recall and support the updating and revalidation of the Saint-Marc Plan of Action and its 27 points, defined during the High Level Conference on Disaster Reduction of the Association of Caribbean States held in November 2007 in Saint-Marc, Republic of Haiti, as the guide for the ACS Work Programme in the area of disaster risk reduction.
  25. Recognize that natural phenomena such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods and severe drought, whose magnitude and frequency tend to increase with the effects of climate change, result in disasters in the Greater Caribbean Region, given the level of exposure and vulnerability of the communities, and thus have serious implications for the economies of their countries. Consequently, they urge that actions be continued to promote the reduction of disaster risks and adapting to climate change.  They further agree that governments must play a key role in promoting and facilitating the production and utilization of eco-efficient and environmentally friendly products, tools and processes for managing, responding to, and recovering from, disasters.
  26. Acknowledge and support the close collaboration of the ACS with specialized regional organisations, such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Coordination Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC), the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR),  the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), among others.
  27. Recognize the importance of establishing mechanisms to facilitate and expedite the dispatch, receipt and distribution of humanitarian assistance in cases of disasters according to the established legal order in each country, as they urge the ACS to conduct activities that will permit the strengthening of coordinated disaster management action and for the benefit of the victims affected by such disasters. In the framework of their capabilities and resources, they will continue to strive to address the risks to which they are exposed, in an effective, efficient and timely fashion.
  28.  Recommend the further development of the various modes of transportation by land, air and sea transport, as well as air and sea connectivity which contribute to strengthening the unification of the nations of the Greater Caribbean.  In this regard, they highlight the entry into force on September 19, 2008, of the Air Transport Agreement among the Member States and Associate Members of the ACS. They further recognize the implementation of the Project: “Maps of Maritime Routes of the Greater Caribbean”, and acknowledge the significance of the “Caribbean Maritime Port Strategy”, proposed with a view to producing a competitive maritime sector that is able to meet the foreign trade needs of the Greater Caribbean.
  29. Promote and make an appeal for the incorporation of gender, as cross-cutting themes, into the policies, plans and actions related to the priority programs of the ACS.
  30. Commit to encourage in the same way, policies of social integration, in particular, in favour of children, youth, people with reduced capacity and the elderly.
  31. Urge Member States that still have not done so, to ratify the Convention Establishing the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC) and its Protocol, so that both instruments can enter into force. Similarly, they are committed to hasten the implementation of the attendant commitments within the framework of the STZC. They believe that this initiative will promote the advancements made by the Greater Caribbean in incorporating the principles of sustainable development into integrated tourism planning at the global level.
  32. In view of the ACS mandate as it relates to the thematic area of Trade and the intent of Caribbean Leaders to create a consolidated economic space in the region; and taking into account the present state of the World Trading System, they support the efforts of this organization, in order to increase trade and investment in the Greater Caribbean Region. To this end, they encourage the spirit of continued collaboration and consultation between ACS members and the founding observers related to economic development, such as the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) among others. In this regard, they recognize the need to facilitate the increased movement of people among and within the Members States of the ACS.
  33. Point out the importance of promoting co-operation in order to stimulate trade in services among the Member States as an important contributor to the creation of a consolidated economic space. To this end, possibilities of supply and demand will have to be identified within the region and promotion of actions fostering increased opportunities and the diversification of trade exchanges within the Association.
  34. Acknowledge the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to promote economic advancement in the region through the creation of a structured Convergence Process with the objectives being a greater facilitation of the movement of capital and services, to promote the establishment of mechanisms to protect  investments within the region, the integration of capital markets, the development of infrastructure to improve logistics and explore with international financial institutions  the reorientation of their policies in order to support the less developed countries with regard to the shifts in the international economy and maintain macroeconomic stability.
  35. Recognize the importance of SMEs, as one of the factors that can contribute to the process of economic recovery in the region by their ability to promote employment and market opportunities. Consequently, mechanisms of dialogue should be promoted among agencies specializing in this field, in order to benefit from the sharing of those experiences and good practices which have been successful in the region, so that they can be shared where necessary.
  36. Receive favourably the will of the French Regions of the Caribbean to become Associate Members of the ACS in their own name, and commend their active participation in several of the Special Committees of the Association.
  37. Celebrate the election of the Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States, Dr. Alfonso David Múnera Cavadía, in February 2012, and are confident that his efforts, given the work done so far, will redound to the benefit of the Association.
  38. Express to the Government and People of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, their deep and sincere sorrow over the sad passing of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, on March 5, 2013.   President Hugo Chavez always demonstrated a deep love and respect for the people of the Greater Caribbean. We recognize and appreciate his commitment to the region and efforts to build strong means of co-operation that help to improve the quality of life of our people, strengthen the integration and tighten the ties of friendship among our governments.
  39. Express, during this V Summit, their admiration for the nation of Haiti people. The world owes a debt of gratitude to the Haitian people who were the first to completely abolish slavery, and so establish the possibility of citizenship for all human beings.
  40. Manifest their deepest appreciation to the President of the Republic of Haiti,             His Excellency Michel Joseph Martelly, and to the Government and People of            Haiti, for their warm welcome and hospitality during this 5th Summit of Heads of State and/or Government of the Association of Caribbean States.

In order to promote the goals and objectives set forth in this Declaration, the Heads of State and/or Government of the ACS agree to adopt and execute the Plan of Action attached, and instruct the Ministerial Council, in accordance with Article VIII of the Convention Establishing the Association of Caribbean States, to continuously monitor and evaluate its implementation at its next Ordinary Meeting, to guarantee its execution in the shortest time possible.

About the ACS

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba, Curacao, (France on behalf of French Guiana, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin ), Guadeloupe, Martinique, Sint Maarten, (The Netherlands on behalf of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius ), Turks and Caicos.