BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The alliance between the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is an idea whose time has come.
This was the shared sentiment yesterday as the two entities formalised their partnership during the first official visit of ACS secretary-general, ambassador Rodolfo Sabonge to CDB’s headquarters in Barbados for bilateral discussions and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the institutions.
Ambassador Sabonge emphasised that CDB and ACS had many common areas of focus, including disaster risk reduction, climate action, the blue economy and trade, and that their vision and approach were closely aligned in several areas.
“We’re looking at an era of partnerships where we can only advance if we do things together. We have found through [our] meetings that our strategies and our goals are very much aligned on the focal areas of the ACS which are transport, trade, climate change, environment, disaster risk reduction and tourism. So, in all of those areas, I think we can collaborate and find ways to improve the quality of life in all our member states,” he stated.
CDB president Dr Gene Leon expanded on the point by noting that four of the five pillars in the bank’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan (Updated), namely building social resilience, environmental resilience, production resilience and institutional resilience in the Caribbean were well aligned with the ACS’ strategy and work.
“It is clear that the strategic alliance we’re looking to build is founded on a common platform. Your presence here is not only timely but of extreme importance to our goal of advancement of the people of the Region,” stated Dr Leon.
He suggested that the two organisations could leverage their unique positions to bring together stakeholders and advance development goals.
“We have to leverage the convening power of the CDB [and] of the ACS to bring these stakeholders together in a way that says ‘this is not about gaining an advantage but about how we can achieve together.’
CDB cannot do it on its own. I daresay ACS cannot do it on its own. So, we need to talk about a coalition that can work on common goals.”