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Statement by Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota the

Statement by Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota the Heads of State of CARICOM

Nos dias 25 e 26 de fevereiro, o ministro das Relações Exteriores, Antonio de Aguiar Patriota participou, como convidado especial, da 22ª Reunião Intersessional da Conferência de Chefes de Governo da Comunidade do Caribe (CARICOM), realizada em Granada.

 

Ao dirigir-se aos Chefes de Governo dos países-membro da CARICOM, Patriota reafirmou o compromisso do Brasil com o estreitamento dos laços de diálogo e cooperação com o Caribe.

 

Salientou também o crescimento do comércio entre o Brasil e os países caribenhos, que, em 2010, excedeu a cifra de US$ 4 bilhões.

 

Em Granada, anunciou novos projetos de cooperação em matéria de desenvolvimento agrícola que o Brasil põe à disposição dos parceiros caribenhos para execução em 2011.

Os projetos foram apresentados em detalhes pelo Diretor do Escritório para as Américas da EMBRAPA, com sede no Panamá, e por representante da Agência Brasileira de Cooperação, que o acompanhavam.

 

Além disso, ele tratou também, com Primeiros Ministros e Chanceleres da região, da candidatura do Professor José Graziano da Silva – que integrou a Delegação brasileira – à Direção Geral da FAO.

 

Como resultado, a Comunidade do Caribe conferiu endosso coletivo à candidatura brasileira conforme refletido no Comunicado da Cúpula de Granada.

 

São 14 votos conquistados. Graziano já tem assegurados os votos dos países da UNASUL e da CPLP.

 

Statement by Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota the Heads of State of CARICOM

 

“Let me begin by expressing the gratitude of the Brazilian Government for the possibility of addressing you today. I bring to you warm greetings from President Dilma Rousseff and, as her recently appointed Foreign Minister, I am delighted to be in Grenada and participate in this gathering as a partner and a friend of CARICOM.

 

Brazil and the Caribbean share important historic, geographic, demographic and cultural traits.

 

Our common heritage is reflected today in a growing degree of political convergence. Our societies are guided by the same set of core values. We are firmly committed to democracy, to the promotion and protection of human rights and to economic development with social justice.

 

Based on this affinity Brazil has been working towards an increasingly closer relationship with the major organizations for Caribbean integration — namely CARICOM and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, to which we have accredited our Ambassadors in Georgetown and Castries, as observers.

 

It is also in this spirit that Brazil has decided to open new permanent diplomatic missions in the Caribbean. Since 2005, we have opened embassies in eight CARICOM nations, and that makes us one of the few countries in the world to have diplomatic missions in all of the 14 members of this Community.

 

An important milestone in our relationship with the Caribbean was the First Brazil-CARICOM Summit, held in Brasilia on April 26th, 2010. The Brasilia Declaration, adopted at that meeting, enshrines our commitment to the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. It also stresses our common goal of coordinating positions in international fora and enhancing cooperation in a variety of fields, such as climate change, education, culture, energy, emergency relief, tourism and trade. We also reiterated our commitment to the reconstruction of Haiti.

 

It is especially encouraging that, in the Brasilia Summit, we were able to sign 48 cooperation agreements in a wide range of areas with CARICOM, OECS and individual countries here represented.

 

We are now fully committed to implementing the decisions adopted at the Summit. We are already witnessing results in areas such as technical cooperation, humanitarian assistance and transportation. I wish to particularly stress the newly-established flight between Brazil and Barbados.

 

I would also like to highlight a very specific and concrete result of the Brazil-CARICOM Summit. You – Heads of Government – established in Brasilia a clear mandate to encourage studies on the impacts of slavery on our national identities. In response to that, the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations has organized a book with articles by authors from each one of our countries about our African roots. We have distributed copies of the book yesterday, at the margins of this meeting, and I believe it will contribute to enhancing mutual knowledge among our societies.

 

Brazil will be hosting a seminar, in mid 2011, with a view to further pursuing the debate on our shared history. All of the Caribbean intellectuals who have contributed to this book will be invited.

 

In addition to the Brazil-CARICOM exercise, our partnership has also been strengthened by the Latin America-Caribbean Summits — the first one of which was held in the Brazilian state of Bahia, back in December 2008. This initiative has led to the creation, in the Cancun Summit last year, of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States – CELAC –, a broad formation which provides a venue for our various sub-regional mechanisms to converge.

 

Distinguished Heads of Government,

 

There are a number of significant developments on the economic front worth highlighting. Brazil-CARICOM trade has grown strongly over the last few years, and I am particularly pleased to attest that, after the global economic crisis, two-way trade recovered robustly in 2010, when it exceeded US$ 4 billion.

 

We wish to make our trade relations more symmetrical. The Brazilian Government will soon release a study entitled Opportunities for CARICOM Exports in the Brazilian Market, which we hope will help increase imports of goods and services from Caribbean nations into Brazil.

 

The Brazilian Congress has recently approved Brazil’s accession to the Caribbean Development Bank. Brazil’s joining the Bank will open a new set of opportunities for closer cooperation in regional development projects.

 

Prospects are equally promising in the domain of technical cooperation. As an outcome of the First Brazil-CARICOM Summit, and upon requests by CARICOM members, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency has carried out 14 different missions over the past year, in areas such as health, agriculture and law enforcement. In 2010 we appropriated roughly US$ 7.5 million to cooperation with Caribbean nations — 10% of the cooperation Brazil provides globally, and a 200% increase relative to 2009.

 

We continue to provide cooperation in agriculture, especially through the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). We have been sharing our know-how in areas such as food production and trade. I have with me the coordinator of EMBRAPA’s regional office, located in Panama, who has had talks with many delegations present here today on possible new projects.

 

I am glad to announce that the Brazilian Government has prepared a broad cooperation program to be executed with the Caribbean countries in 2011. It includes ten capacity building projects in agricultural development and food security, which will be organized by three major Brazilian agricultural institutions: EMBRAPA, the National Service for Rural Learning and the Ministry of Agrarian Development. Specifics about this proposed program are contained in a document that has been circulated by my delegation.

 

We are also enhancing our cooperation with the Caribbean countries on humanitarian assistance. Our main efforts have been directed towards Haiti, after the January 2010 earthquake and the more recent cholera outbreak.

We are mindful of how vulnerable the region can be to natural disasters. In 2010, Brazil made a voluntary contribution of over U$S 500,000 to the FAO humanitarian fund that supports projects run by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

 

Part of those funds was allocated to relief programs related to Hurricane Thomas. It was also in the aftermath of Thomas that the Brazilian Government sent a helicopter to carry out humanitarian operations in Saint Lucia.

 

Distinguished Heads of Government,

 

Before concluding these remarks, I wish to touch upon the issue of food security and rural development – which continue to represent an important priority for the Brazilian Government.

 

Brazil has had some success in directly fighting hunger and poverty while creating sustainable conditions to overcome those scourges on the long run. In fact, those two strategies are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

 

The Zero Hunger strategy, formulated from its inception by Dr. Graziano da Silva, who is also present here today, played a central role in this success story. One of its main elements is the Family Grant program, which today benefits around 50 million people, having contributed to lift over 24 million out of poverty.

 

The 2008 economic crisis demonstrated that the Brazilian strategy was a sound one. While much of the world suffered recession, our social policies contributed to consolidate a virtual countercyclical shield.

 

Like Brazil, and with support from the FAO Regional Office, ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have enshrined in law their commitment to food security. At the same time, in Africa, where 200 million still suffer from hunger, 18 nations are benefiting from EMBRAPA’s advances in agricultural research and production.

 

Brazil is now seeking to further increase those partnerships in order to solve the disconcerting mathematics of our times: we are almost 7 billion people in this planet and have enough resources to feed 12 billion; yet 925 million of us still go hungry every day. According to FAO, as little as US$ 40 billion in contributions would suffice to remedy that situation. Now compare that to the almost US$ 10 trillion mobilized to rescue financial markets.

 

As the Brazilian geographer Josué de Castro has taught us, “hunger and war are genuinely human creations”. They are not the inevitable results of fate or scarcity, but rather the bitter fruits of history. Hunger can and must be eliminated by adequately mobilizing our resources and our good will.

 

It is under this firm belief that Brazil aspires to the office of Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The candidacy of Dr. Graziano da Silva reflects Brazil’s commitment to development and social inclusion.

 

It is in this context that I wish to express our gratitude for the valuable support many CARICOM countries have already extended to us in that regard, and to convey the Brazilian government’s desire to be honored by CARICOM’s formal endorsement of Dr. Graziano’s candidacy.

 

Distinguished Heads of Government,

 

I address you today with the firm commitment of opening new and increasingly ambitious cooperation fronts between Brazil and CARICOM.

 

I thank you once again for distinguishing me with the opportunity to participate in this Summit. I am truly honored. 

 

Thank you very much.”

 

 

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