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Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
Asociación de Estados del Caribe (Spanish)
Association des États de la Caraïbe (French)
The Association of Caribbean States
Secretariat Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
Membership 25 members
4 associate members
Establishment July 24, 1994

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS; Spanish: Asociación de Estados del Caribe; French: Association des États de la Caraïbe) was formed with the aim of promoting consultation, cooperation, and concerted action among all the countries of the Caribbean. It comprises twenty-five member states and four associate members. The convention establishing the ACS was signed on July 24, 1994 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

The secretariat of the organisation is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The Turks and Caicos Islands formally sought to became the Association's newest associate member on March 28, 2006.[1]


Member states

Associate member states

Observer states

Observering organisations


The ACS has held four summits involving Heads of State and/or Government:

ACS objectives and goals

The Association of Caribbean States was intended to promote regionalism amongst the member states. The success and functionality of the ACS is greatly debated among scholars. However, the ACS, whether successful or not, is concerned with two major all encompassing goals. The main goals of the association are as follows, "they all serve to confirm the new concept of the Caribbean Basin by (A) accentuating those interests the Caribbean nations hold in common and (B) working to eliminate barriers left over from its colonial past."[2]

Because of the political and economic advantages the Caribbean can possibly have because of the geographic proximity and regional political cooperation, the ACS may be able to forestall the marginalization of the Caribbean in the Global Economy.[2] Even with the arrival of globalization, the ACS has maintained its current goals when dealing with international economic and political blocs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), European Union and South Asia. The ACS goal of realigning the economics and politics of the Caribbean in the international system has led to the development of four distinct areas of interest. These areas have led to the creation of Special Committees which aim to create treaties and resolve issues dealing with the four areas of interests. All committees meet at least twice yearly in order to discuss current regional issues.[3] The ACS Special Committees focus on the four major objectives by attempting to create and ratify regional policies for the Caribbean Basin. Trade, Transport, Sustainable Tourism, and Natural Disasters are the main focuses of the ACS which has provided a guide to regionalism for the nations of the Caribbean to follow in relation to these four objectives.

  • Trade: The ACS contains a Special Committee on Trade Development and External Economic Relations. This committee works in an effort to create larger economic actions in the Caribbean by uniting its member states through integration and cooperation. Through various annual forums the ACS attempts to create economic cooperation in an attempt to benefit and expand the regions economy.[3]
  • Transport: The ACS contains a Special Committee on Transport which works to promote an Air Transport Agreement amongst the countries which have ratified the agreement. Security of travelers and the policing of airborne crime like drug trafficking also falls under the auspices of the Special Committee on Transport.[3]
  • Tourism: The ACS contains a Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism which aims to promote tourism which is environmentally friendly.[3] The committee promotes the use of sustainable tourism which is healthy for the environment, and at the same time economically beneficial to the Caribbean as a region.
  • Natural Disasters: The ACS contains a Special Committee on Natural Disasters which aims to coordinate the planning and response to natural disasters in the Caribbean.[3] The main focus of this committee is to maintain organization and attempt to maintain a high level of ability to cope with natural disasters.

Caribbean Sea agenda

One agenda adopted by the ACS has been an attempt to secure the designation of the Caribbean Sea as a special zone in the context of sustainable development, it is pushing for the UN to consider the Caribbean sea as an invaluable asset that is worth protecting and treasuring.[4] The organisation has sought to form a coalition among member states to devise a United Nations General Assembly resolution to ban the transshipment of nuclear materials through Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal.

Uncertain future

The success of the ACS is debated by many scholars on both sides. Those who suggest the ACS is successful would point to the many initiatives the developmental coalition has undertaken as well as its large membership and relations with other international organisations like the European Union. Those who suggest it is unsuccessful note how by the end of the 1990s, unlike CARICOM, the ACS had failed to establish a track record which was worthy enough to allow for the evaluation of the ACS as a developmental coalition.[5] Furthermore, some scholars suggest that the ACS is unlikely to become a true player on the international level. Skeptics often point to other failed attempts at economic coalition building like the Central American Common Market (CACM) as an example of the instability of the region.[5] The influence of NAFTA on the Caribbean outlines the future struggle of the ACS. The future of the ACS in relation to the western hemisphere is uncertain. "Despite governmental statements of commitment to liberalisation, it will be difficult for Caribbean countries to succeed in putting their economies on a firmer footing that would enable them to compete effectively."[6] The situation that faces the ACS is one which influences the whole Caribbean on more than just political and economic levels. Whether the ACS continues to grow and flourish or withers and dies remains to be known.

Further reading

Gowricharn, Ruben. Caribbean Transnationalism: Migraton, Pluralization, and Social Cohesion. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2006.

Henke, Holger, and Fred Reno, eds. Modern Political Culture in the Caribbean. Kingston: University of West Indies P, 2003.

Heuman, Gad. The Caribbean: Brief Histories. London: A Hodder Arnold Publication, 2006

Hillman, Richard S., and Thomas J. D'agostino, eds. Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean. London: Lynne Rienner, 2003.

Knight, Franklin W.. The Modern Caribbean. na: The University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

Langley, Lester D. The United States and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century. London: University of Georgia P, 1989.

Maingot, Anthony P. The United States and the Caribbean: Challenges of an Asymmetrical Relationship. San Francisco: Westview P, 1994.

Serbin, Andres. "Towards an Association of Caribbean States: Raising Some Awkward Questions." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs (2004): 1-19. (This scholar has many articles referencing the politics of the Caribbean)


  1. ^ ACS Membership increases
  2. ^ a b Serbin, Andres. "Towards an Association of Caribbean States: Raising Some Awkward Questions." Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs (2004): 1-19
  3. ^ a b c d e Association of Caribbean States. 2007. Association of Caribbean States. 21 October-November 2007.
  4. ^ The Caribbean Sea: A constant in the ACS agenda September 30, 2006
  5. ^ a b Hillman, Richard S., and Thomas J. D'agostino, eds. Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean. London: Lynne Rienner, 2003. pp. 169
  6. ^ Benn, Denis. "Global and Regional Trends: Impact on Caribbean Development." In, Caribbean Public Policy: Regional, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Issues for the 21st Century, edited by Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner and Dennis Gayle. London: Boulder Westview, 1997.

External links


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