Association of Caribbean States (ACS)

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On July 24, 1994, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, the Convention Establishing the ACS was signed, establishing the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). The ACS is a group for the Greater Caribbean region’s 25 Member States and 3 Associate Members to discuss, work together, and take coordinated action. Associate membership is open to eight additional Caribbean nations that are not independent.

The ACS is a result of the 32 Contracting States, Countries, and Territories of the Greater Caribbean’s desire to strengthen regional cooperation. This initiative aims to capitalize on the area’s evident physical proximity and well-established historical ties. Its principal function, as stated in the Convention Establishing the ACS, is to serve as a forum for “consultation, cooperation, and concerted action” for its member nations. Its framework offers a platform for political discussion that gives Members the chance to pinpoint issues of shared interest and concern that can be resolved through collaboration at the regional level. Five areas of concern have been recognized by the ACS Membership for the Association’s consideration:

The Caribbean Sea’s preservation and conservation: The ACS’s primary responsibility is to preserve and conserve this natural treasure because it represents the common responsibility of all Caribbean inhabitants to safeguard this very real birthright.
Sustainable travel: Physical size or linguistic barriers have no bearing on the relevance of the tourist sector to the economic growth of any ACS Members.
External Economic and Trade Relations: The ACS offers a framework for the discussion and activity required to further promote economic integration and intra-regional trade and investment, enhancing the greater Caribbean region’s economic competitiveness.

Natural catastrophes: A topic of the utmost significance on the regional agenda is the persistent vulnerability of all countries and territories of the Greater Caribbean to the physical ravages and economically debilitating effects of natural catastrophes.

Transport: In addition to fostering closer intraregional ties, the appropriate operation of effective and viable intraregional air and sea routes serves as a crucial building block for the achievement of cooperation in the aforementioned areas.

Members

Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela are some of the countries that are included in this group.

Associate Members

Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, France (on behalf of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique).

Founding Observers

In 1996, the ACS officially recognized the following organizations as founding observers:

  • The CARICOM Secretariat,
  • The Latin American Economic System (SELA),
  • The Central American Integration System (SICA),
  • The Permanent Secretariat of the General Agreement on Central American Economic Integration (SIECA).
  • The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)
  • The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) were accepted as Founding Observers in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
Functions

The Convention outlines the ACS’s goals, which are based on the preservation of the Caribbean Sea’s environmental integrity, promotion of the Greater Caribbean’s sustainable development, and strengthening of regional cooperation and integration in order to create a more vibrant economic space in the region. Trade, transportation, sustainable tourism, and natural disasters are currently its main focus areas.

Organization

The Ministerial Council and the Secretariat are the Association’s primary administrative structures. There are special committees on budget and administration, sustainable tourism, transportation, natural disasters, and trade development and external economic relations.
A Council of National Representatives of the Special Fund is in charge of managing project planning and resource mobilization initiatives.

Social Partners

The Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA), the Caribbean Medical Association (AMECA), the Regional Economic and Social Research Coordinator (CRIES), the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), and the Antilles-French Guiana Regional Center of the National Institute of Agronomical Research (CRAG/INRA)

Observer Nations (Ordered by date of entry)

the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Peru, the Republic of Chile, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Republic of Turkey, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of Argentina, the Russian Federation, and the Kingdom of Spain.

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