The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, has met with Jukka Tapio Pietikäinen and Elizabeth Eklund, Roving Ambassadors of Finland and Sweden to the Caribbean, to discuss the impact of recent hurricanes on the region.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean in recent weeks. The Ambassadors and the Secretary-General discussed the valuable work of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in responding to them and the long road of recovery and rebuilding ahead. They also acknowledged the recent impact of extreme weather on other Commonwealth countries, such as mudslides in Sierra Leone, and extreme flooding in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These events are of particular concern to small states because of their vulnerability to extreme weather and their consequent need to build resilience.
In addition, the Ambassadors and the Secretary-General spoke about broader issues pertinent to the Caribbean region, such as trade, debt swaps, the Commonwealth’s work on regenerative development to reversing climate change, and establishing a Commonwealth Blue Charter. The Secretary-General briefed the ambassadors on the Commonwealth’s collaboration with the Africa Caribbean Pacific Group, with which the Secretariat has a long-standing memorandum of understanding.
This was the first meeting of the Roving Ambassadors with the Secretary-General. They will continue to explore initiatives of mutual interest and shared concern in the Caribbean.