Bailes, Alyson J. K., Bradley A. Thayer and Baldur Thorhallsson (2016) 'Alliance theory and alliance 'shelter': The complexities of small state alliance behaviour', Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 1:1, 9–26


This study critiques traditional alliance theory because it fails to capture the nuanced alliance motivation and needs of small states. We argue that the concept of alliance “shelter” better explains small state alignment. The theory of alliance shelter has been developed to explain the alliance choices of Western small states, including Iceland, and serves as an important addition to alliance theory. Shelter is the diplomatic, economic, societal, and political alignment response of structurally weak states. Alliance shelter theory differs from traditional alliance theories for the following reasons. First, it regards small states as fundamentally different political, economic, and social units than large states. Second, their alliance shelter relationships are distinctly shaped by domestic as much as international factors. Third, small states benefit disproportionately from international cooperation, including institutional membership, compared with large states. Fourth, shelter theory claims that small states/entities need political, economic, and societal shelter (as well as strategic protection) in order to thrive. Fifth, the social and cultural relationships of the small states with the outside world are elements that have been neglected by alliance theory. Sixth, shelter may also come at a significant cost for the small state/entity. We conduct a plausibility probe of our argument against three contemporary non-Western cases: Armenia, Cuba, and Singapore. We find that the concept of alliance shelter explains their alliance behavior better than traditional alliance theory.

Bardouille, Nand C. (2018) 'Caribbean regionalisms in a comparative-historical perspective: The making of four regional systems', Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 43:2, 171–211  


This article presents a new contribution to the burgeoning body of comparative regionalism scholarship, within which small state regions have mostly been overlooked. It systematically examines four geographically proximate contemporary Caribbean regional systems, drawing on constructivist approaches in International Relations to frame and explore the dynamics of region-making/region-building by state actors and institutionalized, narrative-driven intergovernmentalism therein. Largely understudied in the aforementioned scholarship, the systems’ motif, design and scope are analyzed in a comparative-historical perspective. Emphasis is placed on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the cornerstone of Caribbean regionalisms. This contribution contends that the bloc’s modern transformation is best explained by the Community’s “deepening”-cum-“widening”. A key finding of this article is that the dual transformational imperative in question has a profound impact on the three other regionalist projects under consideration, in particular, because CARICOM’s early development created the specific conditions on which the respective integration or cooperation agendas of those projects took shape. More broadly, the cases demonstrate that ideational motivations/forces are important determinants of Caribbean region-making/region-building. Policymaking elites are shown to be the linchpins of the making of the regional systems under study, which the article finds are vitally important for Caribbean states’ strategies to offset limitations associated with their small size and levels of development in the conduct of international affairs. Set in this context, some future research trajectories, which could enrich our understanding of Caribbean regional governance, are sketched. The final section summarizes key themes and takes stock of the article’s contribution to the comparative regionalism research agenda.

This paper argues that Jamaica is one of the countries with the potential to become an exporter of services and thereby achieve economic development. If this goal is to be reached, Jamaica must immediately implement a policy of strategic global repositioning.

In recent years,there has been renewed interest in the international studies literature in ‘small states’ and the particular problems that they face externally. The appeal of studying small states, though, is nothing new. From The 1960s onwards, some IR scholars banged the drum loudly for greater recognition of smallness in a discipline which, especially in its more main-stream guises, has tended to focus far more upon ‘big’ states and ‘big’issues. Yet this call was not generally heeded by the IR community, and itis on the terrain of development studies – and, specifically, DEVELOPMENT economics – where most of the running has subsequently been made. Of late, a nascent research agenda has also emerged in critical IPE.These three broad approaches each represent a distinctive way of think-ing about the small-state problematic, and this is something which isin turn illustrated by the three edited collections that comprise the core focus of this article. These works provide essential reading for those who share an interest in what is a proliferating area of study, and they help us to flesh out the different positions that exist within the field of small-state studies by providing a snapshot of the debate in IR, devel-opment studies and IPE, respectively. At the same time, all of these lit-eratures are problematic in some way. Whereas the early IR approaches were restricted by their largely realist ontology, the development litera-ture tends to be highly technical and it is characterized by ‘naturalist and economically determinist language’ (Heron, 2008b: 256) which reduces small-state activity to quantified notions of ‘building resilience’ to theirstatic vulnerabilities. By contrast, newer directions in critical IPE whichhave (commendably) argued for greater recognition of small-state agency also tend to neglect – at least implicitly – the structural constraints onaction.My agenda in this article is to clarify and crystallize these three different approaches by situating each of the books within their wider intellec-tual and historical context. Then, the paper moves on to a specific focus on developments within critical IPE. It discusses how greater conceptual awareness and precision can help to overcome the problem of excessive voluntarism that I identify, and which is illustrated empirically by draw-ingbrieflyonfourpertinentexamples.The Paper Concludes By Delineating The broader conceptual implications, suggesting some ways forward for-calibrating the focus of small-state analysis within IPE.

Braveboy-Wagner, Jacqueline A. (2008). Small states in global affairs: The foreign policies of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Palgrave Macmillan.

About this book 

This book updates the 1989 volume 'Caribbean in World Affairs' providing a comprehensive and theoretically-grounded account of diplomatic developments in the Caribbean. The new material includes attention to the changed global setting, updated theoretical developments in foreign policy, and the inclusion of Haiti and Suriname.

Braveboy-Wagner, Jacqueline Anne (2003) 'The foreign policies of the global south: an introduction' in Jacqueline Anne Braveboy-Wagner (ed) The foreign policies of the global south: rethinking conceptual frameworks (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner)


Seeking to refocus thinking about the behavior of the global south ("third world") states in international affairs, this book explores contending explanations of global south foreign policy and strategy. The authors draw on both traditional approaches and newer conceptualizations in foreign policy analysis, contributing to the development of an integrated theoretical framework. Examples from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Arab world enrich the analysis.

Back in the 19th century, the Monroe Doctrine made it clear that the United States would oppose European powers’ interfer- ence in both North and South America. Since then, the influ- ence of the Old Continent on Latin America has declined, but has not vanished. Historical, cultural and economic ties have endured over time and, until recently, Europe as a whole was Latin America’s second trading partner after the United States.

The  CARlCOM Review  Commission   was  appointed    by  the  Prime   Minister,  the  Most Honourable    Andrew   Holness,   O.N., in  july  2016  to  review   jamaica’s    relations   with CARlCOM and within  CARIFORUM.

In  his  letter   of  appointment,     the   Prime   Minister   cited   “the   need   for  an  in-depth examination    of those  aspects   of our  regional   relationships    within   CARlCOM that  are not fully meeting  their  intended   objectives”   and stressed   the  importance   of “exploring opportunities    for forging  strategic   partnerships    with  other  CARIFORUM states in the northern   Caribbean   so as to buttress   the  government’s    measures   to achieve  economic growth”.

Caribbean Community Secretariat et al. (2014, July 3). Strategic plan for the Caribbean Community 2015–2019: Repositioning CARICOM (Volume 1 - The executive plan). Prepared by Gwendoline Williams and Associates in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat et al. CARICOM Secretariat.


The Strategic Plan for the Community 2015 - 2019 is in direct response to the need to target “… a narrow range of specified outcomes within specified timeframes, focusing on a few practical and achievable goals” in relation to the regional development agenda. This is particularly important given the Community’s limited resources. However, the Strategic Plan has been prepared after consultation with the widest possible range of stakeholders and the intense engagement with Member States, Institutions, the CARICOM Secretariat and other stakeholders has resulted in a much wider mandate. In that regard, the first Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community outlines the strategic repositioning of the Community, and captures a development agenda going forward that encompasses: i) a review of development needs; ii) a Resilience Model for socio-economic progress; iii) strategies to renew the commitment to and strengthen actions for enhancing regional unity; and, iv) an agenda for the reform of governance mechanisms to achieve these two major forward thrusts. At the same time, as a framework for action, the Strategic Plan allows for selection of, and agreement on, the narrow range of actions that are pursued each year of the plan period in pursuit of the Region’s development goals. As well, the Plan outlines the implementation imperatives, strategic and change management modalities with the necessary monitoring, measurement and evaluation frameworks. The critical action now is ‘buy in’ and onward movement.


Small states are by no means powerless. However, they are traditionally seen as lacking so much in the conventional dimensions of power that they are deemed inconsequential in international relations—hence the peculiar terminology of Great Powers, Middle Powers, and small states. Certainly, as recent scholarship has noted, Realist international thought seems to have coloured the policy options of small states to the point of acting as an analytical straightjacket (Gleason et al 2008). We maintain that the above viewpoint has in fact always been incomplete and is now, in the twenty-first century, obsolete. The challenge lies in identifying the often particular and unconventional sources of small states’ foreign policy power (Thorhallsson and Wivel 2006; Browning 2006).

Clegg, P. (2005) 'Banana splits and policy challenges: The ACP Caribbean and the fragmentation of interest coalitions'. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (79), pp. 27–45


The article considers the changes that have taken  place within the political economy of international  trade over the last decade. The work begins by  assessing briefly the dynamics of the last successful trade negotiations undertaken by the ACP Caribbean – the agreement on a single European  banana market in 1993. Since then, however, the  international political and economic climate has  dramatically changed. The article evaluates recent  developments, which have highlighted attention  on the political acceptability of trade discrimination, particularly within the context of the General  Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organisation. In addition, there is an analysis of the reform process undertaken by the European Union, both in terms of its membership and  policy agenda, which has seriously impacted on  Caribbean economic interests. The article establishes that the actors representing the Caribbean  were extremely successful in constructing strategic coalitions to defend their trading interests in  the early 1990s, but the region must now appreciate that the international environment has changed  so dramatically that former negotiating strategies  are no longer appropriate. An awareness of the  changed negotiating environment on the part of  the Caribbean is vitally important if ongoing  international trade negotiations are to be completed to the region’s satisfaction.

 About this book

This is an in-depth analysis of the various methods used by small states to overcome their vulnerabilities in the international arena. With its balanced approach and variety of contributions, this book is of interest to researchers and academics who focus on the developing world or multilateral diplomacy.


There is no widely accepted definition of a small state. Most previous definitions have been based upon arbitrarily chosen cut‐off values of selected criteria. The present study attempts to categorize the size of 190 states according to population, land area and total income. An initial categorization is based upon observation of each series to identify discontinuities in the distributions. Cluster analysis is then employed to identify groups of countries that share similar size‐related characteristics. A classification based on non‐hierarchical cluster analysis is proposed, generating four clusters from equally spaced initial cluster‐centres. On this basis, 79 countries are classified as ‘small’. The reasons for deviation from recent categorizations of small countries are explored, the primary cause being the inclusion of some countries with very low levels of income. 

Gibert, Marie and Virginie Grzelczyk (2016) 'Non-Western small states: activists or survivors?', Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, 1:1, 1–8


In this introduction to the collection, we explain its focus on non-Western small states. While the terms ‘non-Western’ and ‘small states’ are problematic – we discuss these problems here – the smallness and non-Westerness of the states studied by the contributing authors set them apart in a way that has attracted little academic attention so far. They allow them to operate with fewer normative and practical constraints than their bigger, Western counterparts; offer them a wide range of (often historically forged) political ties; and force them to draw on a diversity of approaches and strategic thinking, and a creativity, that they are too rarely credited for. Non-Western small states, rather than being mere survivors constrained to the world’s periphery, are better understood as activist states intent on existing. The collection offers a range of analytical keys to make sense of these states and their role in the international scene.

Hoefte R, Bishop ML & Clegg P (Eds.) (2016) Post-Colonial Trajectories in the Caribbean: The Three Guianas. London: Routledge

Book Description

This book compares and contrasts the contemporary development experience of neighbouring, geographically similar countries with an analogous history of exploitation but by three different European colonisers. Studying the so-called ‘Three Guianas’ (Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana) offers a unique opportunity to look for similarities and differences in their contemporary patterns of development, particularly as they grapple with new and complex shifts in the regional, hemispheric and global context. Shaped decisively by their respective historical experiences, Guyana, in tandem with the laissez-faire approach of Britain toward its Caribbean colonies, was decolonised relatively early, in 1966, and has maintained a significant degree of distance from London. The hold of The Hague over Suriname, however, endured well after independence in 1975. French Guiana, by contrast, was decolonised much sooner than both of its neighbours, in 1946, but this was through full integration, thus cementing its place within the political economy and administrative structures of France itself. Traditionally isolated from the Caribbean, the wider Latin American continent and from each other, today, a range of similar issues – such as migration, resource extraction, infrastructure development and energy security – are coming to bear on their societies and provoking deep and complex changes.

International Monetary Fund. (2013, February 20) Caribbean small states: Challenges of high debt and low growth. IMF Policy Papers Series. IMF Publications


This paper presents background on Caribbean small states as context for the main paper, “Macroeconomic Issues in Small States and Implications for Fund Engagement.” It draws on recent analytical work presented at a conference for policy makers in September 2012, in Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean small states, while sharing many features of other small states (size-related macroeconomic vulnerabilities, lack of economies of scale, and capacity constraints) have specific characteristics which merit attention.

Jahan, Sarwat and Ke Wang (2013) 'A big question on small states', Finance & Development 50:3


For every large country like China, India, and the United States, there is a small state like Suriname, Tuvalu, and Seychelles. And just as big states are a diverse lot, so are states with populations of less than 1.5 million.

Laguardia Martínez, J. (2017) Cambio Climático: Efectos y Acciones de Cooperación en las Pequeñas Islas del Caribe. Estudios del Desarrollo Social: Cuba y América Latina, 5 (3): 48-67.


El artículo examina las consecuencias negativas que el cambio climático provoca en los pequeños Estados insulares caribeños y algunas de las iniciativas implementadas, a nivel regional y en el marco de la cooperación, para enfrentar estos impactos en aras de avanzar en la acción climática en el Caribe. El énfasis del análisis se enfoca en las acciones coordinadas por la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom) y la Asociación de Estados del Caribe (AEC), así como en aquellos proyectos en los que Cuba ha participado como actor fundamental para la cooperación en acción climática. El artículo finaliza con una evaluación general de la cooperación en cambio climático en la región y de los factores a considerar para su impulso, en el propósito de avanzar juntos hacia un desarrollo sostenible en los Pequeños Estados Insulares en Desarrollo (PEID) del Caribe.

The article examines the negative consequences of climate change on small Caribbean island states and some of the initiatives implemented at the regional level and within the framework of cooperation to address these impacts in order to advance climate action in the Caribbean. The focus of the analysis focuses on actions coordinated by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), as well as those projects in which Cuba has participated as a key player in climate action cooperation. The article concludes with a general assessment of climate change cooperation in the region and the factors to be considered for its momentum in order to move forward towards sustainable development in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Laguardia Martínez, J. (2017). Cuba en sus relaciones con el resto del Caribe. Continuidades y rupturas tras el restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos. CLACSO: Buenos Aires. ISBN 978-987-722-289-0

Colección Grupos de Trabajo

 La doctrina de Obama fomentó y facilitó un nivel de compromiso con Cuba que cambió fundamentalmente las relaciones bilaterales entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos y la alejaron de la confrontación, contrario a sus predecesores. Durante los primeros dos años después del 17 de diciembre, el acercamiento con Cuba fue prometedor para garantizar cooperación y armonía hemisférica, así como para mayores beneficios sociales, económicos y de seguridad para Cuba y sus vecinos del Caribe. Sin embargo, a medida que el mundo se adecúa a la nueva administración en Washington, la cuestión de Cuba se ha vuelto a cargar de consideraciones geopolíticas. De hecho, la región del Caribe está atrapada en una telaraña de incertidumbre, ya que la amenaza de parte de Washington para ahogar el compromiso constructivo con Cuba es real. La presidencia de Trump ha desatado legiones de incertidumbres sobre Cuba, el Caribe y la región latinoamericana. Este libro da cuenta de el complejo entramado de relaciones en las diversas actividades de la política, la economía y las relaciones diplomáticas cubanas.

Laguardia Martínez, J. (2017) La gobernanza ambiental en el Caribe de la CARICOM para la gestión del cambio climático. Revista Entretextos, 27 (9): 51-70


El artículo explora las principales instituciones para la gobernanza ambiental desarrolladas por la Comunidad del Caribe (Caribbean Community, CARICOM), específicamente en la gestión de los efectos del cambio climático. Tras un examen de las organizaciones y proyectos principales puestos en marcha por la entidad regional para la gestión en acción climática, se analiza cómo la subregión ha avanzado en sus propósitos de gobernanza ambiental y cuáles son sus insuficiencias. Como conclusión se presenta una evaluación del estado de la gobernanza ambiental para la gestión del cambio climático en el espacio CARICOM.

The article explores the main institutions for environmental governance developed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), specifically on managing the effects of climate change. By conducting a revision of key regional institutions and projects dealing with climate action, the article analyzes how the CARICOM space advances on environmental governance and what are the deficiencies to overcome. To conclude, the article assesses environmental governance for climate change action in the CARICOM. 

Laguardia Martínez, J. “Los territorios no independientes del Caribe: notas preliminares” in El Caribe y sus relaciones internacionales. Sus vínculos con Cuba tras 45 años de relaciones diplomáticas, ed. Ciencias Sociales (Cuba: La Habana, 2018), 99 – 124.


Los territorios no independientes del Caribe, si bien no suelen incluirse en los estudios sobre el Caribe pues se investigan a partir de su asociación política con los Estados de los que dependen, merecen ser analizados desde su singularidad y sus circunstancias actuales teniendo en cuenta la multiplicidad de desafíos que enfrentan para su desarrollo integral. El propósito de este artículo es examinar el estado de los territorios no independientes del Caribe en los primeros años del siglo XXI y discutir alrededor de algunos de los problemas que afectan el bienestar y desarrollo sostenible de sus sociedades. 

Laguardia Martínez, J. (2018) Los territorios no independientes del Caribe: notas sobre su actualidad y circunstancias. CariCen. Revista de Análisis y Debate sobre el Caribe y Centroamérica, UNAM, 5: 46-62.


Los territorios no independientes del Caribe, si bien no suelen incluirse en los estudios sobre el Caribe pues se investigan a partir de su asociación política con los Estados de los que dependen, merecen ser analizados desde su singularidad y sus circunstancias actuales teniendo en cuenta la multiplicidad de desafíos que enfrentan para su desarrollo integral. El propósito de este artículo es examinar el estado de los territorios no independientes del Caribe en los primeros años del siglo XXI y discutir alrededor de algunos de los problemas que afectan el bienestar y desarrollo sostenible de sus sociedades.

Lewis-Bynoe, Denny (2016) Achieving a resilient future for small states: Caribbean 2050 (London: Commonwealth Secretariat)


The ‘Achieving a Resilient Future for Small States: Caribbean 2050’ project, aimed at tackling the problems facing the Caribbean, posed some tough questions to policymakers and development partners in the region. Do current development strategies set the region on a path to achieve sustainable development? What happens if the region continues on its current policy path? And is the region positioned to capitalise on the use of its limited resources and emerging opportunities? In this publication, the Commonwealth has sought to answer these questions, focusing on some of the key factors for catalysing change across the region and informed by a wide cross-section of regional ‘thought leaders’. Among these are stakeholders involved in citizen security, energy, youth development, financing for development, private sector development and innovation. A modelling exercise using selected Caribbean countries was undertaken to identify the future direction of the region. While acknowledging current and future threats, such as lack of competitiveness, human and financial resource constraints, crippling debt, limited access to development financing and citizen insecurity, the findings make it clear that the ‘business-as-usual’ approach is not an option. The findings of this research-based initiative challenge regional policy-makers and stakeholders to apply fresh thinking to eradicate the persisting epidemic of arrested growth and development in the Caribbean region. This publication offers strategies that will seek to balance the concerns of survivability today and sustainability tomorrow, with a focus on a long enough period to affect necessary changes; recapture the potential of young people across the Caribbean; renew and re-energise the focus on the need to secure the energy requirements of the region; and address the need for a truly transformational system of governance across the region, while strengthening systems that safeguard against corruption and ineffectiveness. The Commonwealth is committed to supporting the region in planning for, and realising the vision for, the Caribbean we want by 2050, built on resilience. We believe this publication, with its in-depth analysis and action-oriented recommendations, is a critical step in the right direction and will be of interest to policy-makers, stakeholders, key development partners, academics and those with an interest in the Caribbean.

Deodat Maharaj Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Social Development Commonwealth Secretariat

Lewis P., Gilbert-Roberts T.A, Byron J. (2018). Confronting Shifting Economic and Political Terrains. In Pan-Caribbean Integration: Beyond CARICOM. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 224 – 245 ISBN: 978-1-138-05671-8.


This chapter charts major shifts at the regional and global levels that have introduced fault lines into pan-Caribbean integration. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) engagement with the EU is primarily in trade, covered under the CARIFORUM–EC Economic Partnership Agreement (CARIFORUM–EU EPA), and development financing under the European Development Fund (EDF). Britain's position in respect of Caribbean region is likely to reflect the concerns that prompted Brexit in first place. Brexit has emboldened anti-EU forces across Europe, evident in the strong showing of anti-EU politicians in elections in Holland and France. The electoral victories against far-right political parties in France and Holland are unlikely to quell dissatisfaction with European project. The assessment of US–Caribbean relations into the Donald Trump administration, may be somewhat premature, but the government has already introduced policies, or made statements that give some indication of likely challenges. Chief among these are immigration; its relations with Cuba; reduced commitment to combat climate global warming; and a hostile stance on China.

Lewis P., T.A Gilbert-Roberts, J Byron (2018). Eds Pan-Caribbean Integration: Beyond CARICOM. London and New York: Routledge ISBN: 978-1-138-05671-8

Book Description

A critical part of the history of regionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean is to be found in the widening of the economic and functional relationships among the English-speaking Caribbean to embrace other countries in the Greater Caribbean.

Bringing together a range of international experts to explain the broad thrusts of CARICOM’s widening project and the opportunities and challenges it presents, the book pays particular attention to CARICOM’s relations with the French Caribbean territories. Providing a review of the pan-Caribbean landscape this volume notes the impact of these new relationships on internal CARICOM affairs; inter-regional/South-South cooperation; and political and legislative changes in European metropoles of the non-independent territories. It also contemplates recent developments in the region and globally, such as political instability in Brazil and Venezuela, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the policies of the Donald Trump administration.

This edited collection will be an important resource for students and researchers in Latin American and Caribbean politics, economics, development, history and heritage.

Mohammed, D. and N. Karagiannis. (2018). Caribbean Realities and Endogenous Sustainability. UWI Press: Jamiaca, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.


The contributors to Caribbean Realities and Endogenous Sustainability discuss alternative theoretical perspectives, sustainable growth-inducing economic policies, and special challenges in this era of neoliberal globalization. These perspectives, policies and challenges have to be seriously considered if appropriate interventions towards changing the Caribbean status quo and eliminating social and political ills are to be pursued. The authors evaluate past efforts and policies, criticize failed perspectives, and offer alternative strategies, policies and realistic options to the region’s current socioeconomic impasse and misery from a distinctly Caribbean viewpoint. The chapters are informed by such important factors as historical legacy, the role of institutions (including market and government), geopolitics and international relations, security, local culture and social psychology, which clearly stand in contrast to the starry-eyed analysis of the current orthodoxy. Overall, the essays not only expand the body of knowledge but, more importantly, provide a rich menu for alternative strategies and policies related to Caribbean international relations and social and governance ills in the twenty-first century.

Montoute, A., A. Knight, J. Laguardia Martínez, D. Mohammed, D. Seerattan. (2017). The Caribbean in the European Union-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Partnership. Hamburg: EU – LAC Foundation.

Executive Summary

Historically, the relationship between Latin America and the Anglophone Caribbean had been termed “distant”. Although the warming of relations started several decades before, the 1990s – the post-Cold War era – saw an intensification of engagement, fuelled by the imperatives of globalisation and the need for collaboration in an increasingly interdependent world. The strongest indication of the two sub-regions’ commitment to collaboration thus far was the establishment of CELAC in 2011. In 2013, CELAC became the organism through which the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region relates to the European Union (EU) in a strategic partnership, established between the two parties since 1999. A strengthened CELAC is therefore necessary for enhancing the Bi-regional Partnership. Some of CELAC’s objectives are to promote regional integration, strengthen regional unity, and develop ties of solidarity and cooperation among LAC countries. The aim of this study revolves around achieving the above objectives, which inform the main research question: how can the participation of the Caribbean in CELAC be strengthened in order to boost CELAC and the Bi-regional Strategic Partnership? The Caribbean, in the case of the study is defined as CARIFORUM. However, we note that challenges of relations between the Caribbean and Latin America are being experienced predominantly by CARICOM states, the non – Latin members of the Caribbean sub-grouping. As the Caribbean relates to the EU in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, the study also examines the ACP-EU relationship vis-à-vis the Caribbean’s engagement in CELAC and the Bi-regional Strategic Partnership. Based on the work of Sandler (2010), the study adopts the view that the Caribbean’s participation in CELAC is likely to be enhanced and sustained on the basis of the challenges that it shares with Latin America, and proposes the following areas for collaboration: poverty and inequality, crime and security, food security, non-communicable diseases, financial vulnerability and governance and transparency. First, the study notes that, in light of the impending expiration of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2020, and the importance the EU places on regional configurations – including those outside the ACP framework – which are in the same region, CELAC promises to have significance in the postCotonou framework. Second, the study identifies, as a basis for exploring how they could be overcome, the hindrances to the Caribbean’s participation in CELAC, key among them being resource constraints to attend and engage meaningfully in CELAC meetings which add to an already overburdened meeting schedule, arising out of 2 the existing “spaghetti bowl” of regional integration efforts in which the Caribbean participates. Third, the study identifies several assets the Caribbean possesses which can contribute to enhancing its participation in CELAC and the Bi-regional Strategic Partnership, including its successful experiences with regional integration and cooperation, the legitimacy of its voice on issues such as small state development and climate change, the make-up of its membership which provides openings to Latin America, and its access to other important groupings such as the ACP group, AOSIS and, in the case of the Anglophone Caribbean, the Commonwealth. Fourth, CELAC and the bi-regional Strategic Partnership provides several opportunities for LAC countries in general, and for the Caribbean, in particular, including: additional space for South-South cooperation; a forum to coordinate LAC positions; a window for increased leverage on the global stage; an institutionalised entry point for the Caribbean to Latin America; the opportunity to overcome existing divisions between the LAC sub-regions; opportunities for the Caribbean to take advantage of Latin America’s high levels of per capita income and technological advancements; an additional space to advance special consideration for the Caribbean and to advance its development objectives; increased weight for relating with the EU; an avenue to broaden triangular cooperation; and a space for the Caribbean to engage with the EU alongside the ACP framework. Fifth, arguing on the basis of subsidiarity, the study recommends that, by deepening complementarity and coordination among existing institutions, they could support the Caribbean’s participation in each of the substantive areas identified. Finally, the paper provides general recommendations. Those relating to CELAC as an organisation include: CELAC should provide a greater institutionalised and coordinating role for regional organisations; reduce the scope of the organisation’s agenda; strengthen the institutional structure; and regional powers should assume greater leadership role in the organisation. Recommendations relating to LAC relations include: tackle cohesion, first, between the LAC sub regions; boost trade relations between the LAC sub regions; foster LAC participation in global value chains; exploit Latin American and the Caribbean differences for enhancing cooperation; promote inter-regional transportation and the sharing of ICT among the LAC sub regions; and engage in more media reporting of LAC issues. Recommendations pertaining specifically to the Caribbean include: use the Spanish-speaking members of the group as bridges for more meaningful insertion in CELAC; further explore the benefit of CELAC; enhance coordination and overcome the implementation deficit; address language and cultural barriers; pool resources to increase participation; and continue to build and further strengthen its presence to increase its leadership in CELAC.

Payne, Anthony and Paul Sutton (2007) 'Repositioning the Caribbean within globalisation', Caribbean Paper No.1, Waterloo, Canada: Centre for International Governance Innovation 


In the last twenty years, the Commonwealth Caribbean has moved toward a new technocratic model of development which has sought to reposition the region within the global economy. This paper examines three key policy agendas that have emerged to drive, guide and inform this process: competitiveness, diplomacy and governance. In each case the paper first provides an overview of the main issues, setting the particular circumstances of the Commonwealth Caribbean within wider global developments. It then examines the current 'state of play' in each area, highlighting progress made and problems encountered. The last part discusses policy issues in each area, identifying both key concerns in current policy and urgent policy questions that still remain to be resolved. The paper concludes that real progress can be made only if the Commonwealth Caribbean adopts the 'functional equivalent' at the regional level of the kind of 'development state' that was so successful in East Asia. This will involve restructuring CARICOM to become more innovative, proactive and directive than has been the case to date.

Payne, Anthony and Paul Sutton (2001) Charting Caribbean Development, London & Gainesville FL: Macmillan and University Press of Florida


In the last twenty years, the Commonwealth Caribbean has moved toward a new technocratic model of development which has sought to reposition the region within the global economy. This paper examines three key policy agendas that have emerged to drive, guide and inform this process: competitiveness, diplomacy and governance. In each case the paper first provides an overview of the main issues, setting the particular circumstances of the Commonwealth Caribbean within wider global developments. It then examines the current 'state of play' in each area, highlighting progress made and problems encountered. The last part discusses policy issues in each area, identifying both key concerns in current policy and urgent policy questions that still remain to be resolved. The paper concludes that real progress can be made only if the Commonwealth Caribbean adopts the 'functional equivalent' at the regional level of the kind of 'development state' that was so successful in East Asia. This will involve restructuring CARICOM to become more innovative, proactive and directive than has been the case to date.


The paper looks at Caribbean territorial identity at the crossroads of the new forces of globalization. It offers a topology of Caribbean identities along an ethno-cultural axis. It looks at identity as an area of change and contestation. In developing the ideas of Caribbean identity the paper looks at the concept of the Caribbean homeland as a constituent element in defining regional and territorial arena of identity formation. It attempts to show in looking at the ethno-Caribbean homeland the contestations over self-definition that are being engaged and how multiple identities emerge. It argues that it was a fiction that Caribbean peoples were always living in uncontested territory of land and of the mind. The paper points to contestations over residence as the defining denominator of identity both at home and overseas.


In both the Caribbean and the South Pacific formal regional political groupings have been in existence since the early 1970s. These organizations, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Pacific Islands Forum (the Forum) respectively, have many similarities but despite their similarities, the pace and direction of region-building by CARICOM and the Forum have differed considerably. In this paper I examine the development of the two organizations, their relationships with other multilateral organizations within their regions, and the ways they are facing the challenges presented by the current international environment. I compare and contrast the institutional development of each organization and suggest ways each could learn from the other. 

Scobie, Michelle. "Actors, Frames and Contexts in Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform" in The Politics of Fossil Fuel Subsidies and their Reform, eds. Skovgaard, J, van Asselt, H (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press 2018), 283 – 304. 


Small island states tend to frame global climate change action in terms of climate justice and environmental stewardship. In fossil fuel–producing developing states, debates about fossil fuel subsidies also include redistributive justice frames, for instance, that the population has a normative right to cheap energy. The question is, how are these contradictory frames reflected in countries that are simultaneously small island developing states and fossil fuel producers, and do other frames also feature in their debate on fossil fuel subsidy reform?

This chapter examines how fossil fuel subsidies and their reform have been addressed in Trinidad and Tobago, a petroleum producer and small island developing state. It puts forward an analytical framework of actors, frames and contexts that have been central to the global and local subsidy reform debate. The chapter uses this framework to understand the particular context of a small island state that is heavily dependent on hydrocarbon exports for its socio-economic development and that has had entrenched producer and consumer subsidies (in the electricity and transport sectors) since the 1970s. The chapter illustrates how different actors use different frames (e.g. environmental stewardship, economic prudence, climate and energy justice) in the subsidy reform debate and how historical and economic contexts are relevant to the reform process.

Scobie, Michelle. Global Environmental Governance and small states: architectures and agency in the Caribbean, New Horizons in Environmental Politics. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019.


Global Environmental Governance gives the perspectives of small states on some of the most important issues of the anthropocene, from trade, climate change and energy security to tourism, marine governance, and heritage. Providing an in depth analysis of global environmental governance and its impact on Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) Michelle Scobie explores which dynamics and contexts influence current policy and future environmental outcomes for one of the most biodiverse regions of the planet.

Sutton, Paul (2011) 'The concept of small states in the international political economy', The Round Table, 100:413, 141–153

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