THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everyone. And welcome. It is good see so many of you again. It has been a point of — of pride and joy for me personally that we have had many conversations over a short period of time where we have renewed the commitment between our nations to work together.
I, as you know, first convened leaders from CARICOM and the Dominican Republic back in April, and proposed — based on the conversation we had — that we would meet on a more regular basis going forward, having heard from the leaders at this table about the need to ensure that we have consistency in the way that we communicate and collaborate.
We then convened at the Summit of the Americas in June, where the President — President Biden and I proposed three joint committees between our nations, focused in particular on the issue of energy security, finance, and food security.
Each committee has been co-chaired by a leader from the Caribbean and a senior member of our administration. And the goal for each committee, as designed, is to ensure that we collaborate on those issues and that we produce concrete, near-term solutions to the work that we do.
And I am proud to announce that that work has, in fact, taken place and that today we will announce a series of steps that the United States will take in response to the needs of our Caribbean partners.
On the issue of the climate crisis, two of the committees — energy security and finance, in particular — produced actions that will address the climate crisis, which, of course, is an existential crisis for our planet. And the Caribbean is on the frontlines of this crisis.
We will take steps to accelerate implementation of what we named the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis, also known as PACC 2030, which I launched at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
The United States, to that end, is committed to four areas, in particular. One, to identify new clean energy projects; to provide technical assistance to our partners in the Caribbean; to bring investors to the Caribbean; and to improve access to development financing, which was the subject of much discussion in our previous meetings. And we are sending a team, in fact, to the Caribbean this fall to jumpstart this process.
On the issue of food security: We know that disruptions from Russians aggress- — Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, from the pandemic, and, of course, from the climate crisis have put pressure on global food prices and have led to food shortages.
Addressing food security in the Caribbean and around the world is a priority for our administration. Since we met at the Summit of the Americas, the work has already begun. The United States has committed $28 million to provide food security assistance to the Caribbean.
In furtherance of that, the food security committee, having met and worked these months, has developed a series of actions that the United States will take. In particular, we will promote good agricultural practices and do what we can to enhance those practices in the Caribbean.
We will contribute to addressing the logistical barriers to transportation. And as we know, that is a very important detail when we are talking about combating food insecurity anywhere, and in particular in the Caribbean.
We will remove non-tariff barriers to facilitate movement of the food in the region.
We will incorporate climate-smart technology into the food protection system and food production system.
And we will provide training on areas such as pest management — a very important detail and something that must be addressed.
In conclusion, I will say, as I have said before, the relationship between the United States and the Caribbean is based on common bonds and interests. As neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, we believe it is critical that we have a relationship that is based on close cooperation, knowing that the result of that will be our shared prosperity and security, which is why we, the United States, have pledged to increase our commitment and engagement with our Caribbean partners.
So, again, I welcome you. I thank you. And I look forward to our discussion in our meeting this afternoon.
And I’ll now turn to President Santokhi of Suriname to speak about the role that you are playing as the chair of CARICOM and so much else.
Thank you, and welcome again.