“Cuba is an unconditional and enthusiastic ally of the organization’s tasks and understands the potential of the Association of Caribbean States for the implementation of strategic programs in the Caribbean,” expressed Alfonso Múnera, ACS Secretary General, during an interview last year with Granma.
Comprising 25 Member States and seven Associate Members, the ACS came to be on July 24, 1994, with the signing of the Convention Establishing the Association of Caribbean States, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, “with the aim of promoting consultation, cooperation and concerted action among all the countries of the Caribbean,” according to its website.
With the motto “Promoting the sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean”, the ACS has focused on fundamental issues for the region such as trade, transport and tourism, identified since the First ACS Summit held in 1995 in Trinidad and Tobago, where the organization’s operational headquarters are based.
One of the major achievements of this regional body has been the establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC), the first of its kind in the world, which came into effect on November 6, 2013.
The STZC is based on the premise that tourism is one of the most important economic components for the region, thus protecting and guaranteeing this sector in the long term is its primary purpose.
According to the website of the Caribbean bloc, “the STZC is a proactive and innovative initiative by the ACS, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in integrated tourism planning” and “represents a unique approach to co-ordinate regional efforts in the area of tourism development.”
• The strengthening of the regional co-operation and integration process, with a view to creating an enhanced economic space in the region.
• Preserving the environmental integrity of the Caribbean Sea which is regarded as the common patrimony of the peoples of the region.
• Promoting the sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean (common geographic space shared by ACS states, countries and territories). The Greater Caribbean Zone of Co-operation consists of joint actions in the priority areas of the ACS, namely, trade, sustainable tourism, transport and disaster risk reduction.
- Ministerial Council
President for 2016:
Bruno Rodríguez Parilla (Cuban Foreign Minister)
- Office of the Secretary General
Alfonso Múnera Cavadía
- Special Committees
- Council of National Representatives of the Special Fund of the ACS
The Association is also composed of:
ASSOCIATED MEMBERS: Have the right to intervene in discussions and vote at meetings of the Ministerial Council and Special Committees on matters which affect them directly, falling within their constitutional competence.
- France on behalf of (French Guiana, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin)
- Sint Maarten
- The Netherlands Antilles on behalf of (Saba and Sint Eustatius)
SPECIAL COMMITTEES ON:
- Trade Development and External Economic Relations
- Sustainable Tourism
- Disaster Risk Reduction
- Budget and Administration
OBSERVERS: May be admitted to the Association on terms and conditions as may be determined by the Ministerial Council, in accordance with Article V of the Convention Establishing the Association of Caribbean States.
- Kingdom of the Netherlands
- United Kingdom
SOCIAL PARTNERS: To contribute effectively to the accomplishment of the goals set forth by the organisation, pertinent decisions of the Ministerial Council, and the activities outlined in the Work Programmes of the Special Committees.
- The Antilles-French Guiana Regional Centre of the National Institute of Agronomical Research (CRAG/INRA )
- Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA)
- Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL)
- Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC)
- Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA)
- Caribbean Medical Association (AMECA)
- Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA)
- The Regional Economic and Social Research Coordinator (CRIES)
- The Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLASCO)
- The University of the West Indies (UWI)
FOUNDING OBSERVERS: Participate in the works of the Ministerial Council and the Special Committees.
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
- Latin American Economic System (SELA)
- Central American Integration System (SICA)
- Permanent Secretariat of the General Agreement on Central American Economic Integration (SIECA)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO)
- Central American Economic Integration Bank (CABEI)
- European Union (EU)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)