COFCOR, Commonwealth and Nordic meetings attended by Minister Nisbett

Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett participated in several important meetings and events within the margins of the recently-held 69th General Assembly of the United Nations.

According to Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations in New York, Mr. Samuel Berridge, Foreign Minister Nisbett, the first Nevisian to hold this portfolio since the attainment of political independence in 1983 attended the Thirteenth Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting, the Sixth Special Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), the Ministerial Nordic-CARICOM Working Lunch, the Independence Dinner and Dance, New York; the Independence Breakfast, New York; the Independence Church Service, Toronto, Canada and the delivered the annual statement at 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Mr. Berridge told the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM) that the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting (CFMM) discussed several issues including Democracy and Good Offices Activities with special reference to the strengthening of democratic institutions, providing technical assistance and organizing observation of elections, enhancing the work of the Commonwealth Electoral Network (CEN); establishment of the Commonwealth Junior Elections Professional (JEP) Initiative and special missions by Commonwealth Envoy Sir Don McKinnon to Maldives and Swaziland.

“Under the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the launch of the Climate Finance Skills Hub expected at CHOGM 2015 in Malta was discussed. The Secretariat reiterated its commitment to furthering the issue of Climate Finance at major policy forums, such as the SIDS Conference in Samoa and the launch of a major initiative to augment trade and investment finance for small and vulnerable developing countries,” he said.

On the issue of Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming, Ministers reaffirmed the decision by Heads to support women’s leadership, especially in enterprise, reaffirmed the 2011 CHOGM mandate on mainstreaming gender within the Secretariat’s work.

The Secretariat commissioned two pieces of work: a study on women in leadership, and a review of the implementation of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equity 2005-2015, which will assist in identifying future gender priorities.

He noted that the Secretariat’s dedicated Gender Section has now been relocated to come under the direct purview of the Office of the Secretary General, thereby ensuring high level oversight of the Secretariat’s gender work.

Deepening the Commonwealth’s engagement with the G20 was discussed with the Incoming chair of the G20 (Australia) encouraged to highlight issues of importance to small states at the upcoming Summit of the G20 in Australia.

The Foreign Minister of Malta provided an update on preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Heads of Government. The Territorial disputes between Belize and Guatemala and Guyana and Venezuela were also discussed.

During the COFCOR Meeting, Foreign Ministers made a presentation of an Award to His Excellency Mr. John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly’s 68th Session and reviewed of the outcome of the Third International Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS with the focus on building strong partnerships for sustainable development, climate change, climate finance and disaster preparedness and mitigation.

“There was some elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda with discussion of the process. Updates on other Issues before the United Nations were discussed including the UN Security Council Reform, elaboration of a CARICOM Position on a new agreement to conserve and protect marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, non-Communicable Diseases, the Statutes of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the hosting of the ATT Secretariat, the progress regarding the permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the Caribbean Sea Resolution.

At the Ministerial Nordic-CARICOM Working Lunch, Minister Nisbett and his CARICOM colleagues met with their counterparts from Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden to discuss areas of support in renewable energy, agriculture diversification, support for candidatures, and tertiary education.

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