Representatives from 19 countries are expected in The Bahamas next week for the 21st Session of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting to be held at the British Colonial Hilton.
The meeting, which will take place May 7-8, will see the attendance of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin Larocque and senior officials, CARICOM Foreign Affairs Ministers and senior officials as well as senior officials of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) among others from Germany, Belgium, Norway, Romania and the United Nations (UN).
COFCOR determines relations between CARICOM and international organizations and third states, and promotes the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among member states.
There will be a number of closed working sessions among the ministers and representatives, as heads of delegates discuss a number of issues of importance to the member states.
The goal of COFCOR is to:
- promote the development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations among Member States;
- establish measures to coordinate the foreign policies of the Member States of the Community, including proposals for joint representation, and seek to ensure, as far as practicable, the adoption of Community positions on major hemispheric and international issues
- coordinate the positions of the Member States in inter- governmental organizations in whose activities such states participate
- collaborate with COTED in promoting and developing coordinating policies for the enhancement of external economic and trade relations of the Community;
- coordinate, in close consultation with the Member States, Community policy on international issues with the policies of States in the wider Caribbean Region in
- order to arrive at common positions in relation to Third States, groups of States and relevant inter-governmental organizations; and
- undertake any additional functions remitted to it by the Conference arising under [the] Treaty
Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield will chair COFCOR for one year effective April 2018. He recently expressed his pleasure in hosting this meeting and said he looks forward to a fruitful outcome.
An opening ceremony will be held at the British Colonial Hilton on May 7 at 10:00 a.m.
Henfield is expected to host a special lunch, where Louise Arbour, UN special representative for international migration will be the special guest speaker.
Arbour has a long and distinguished career in international affairs as she previously served as UN high commissioner for human rights and as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals (ICT) for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She is a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. From 2009 to 2014, Arbour was president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Crisis Group.
On May 7, there will also be breakfast and lunch hosted by the United States and Canada respectively. Additionally, a number of closed COFCOR plenary meetings will take place before a closing reception to be held at Government House.
The delegations depart on Wednesday, May 9.