CARIFORUM moves to ensure Non-State Actors participation in EPA

 

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana -PRESS RELEASE

The Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) is moving to finalise its team for its side of the Consultative Committee with the European Union (EU). The Committee is one of the five institutions required under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

A Meeting in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 11 and 12 September will bring together the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat-based CARIFORUM Directorate and representatives of CARIFORUM non-State actors to assist in determining the make-up of the team.

The Meeting is funded by resources from the EU’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF), made available by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, as well as the UK Department for International Development (DFID), through the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund).

Four of the five Joint CARIFORUM-EU Institutions have to date been established, to facilitate implementation of the EPA. The CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee is the last to come on stream. It is designed for the engagement of civil society in the EPA implementation process.

The Director-General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Mr Ivan Ogando Lora, said of the Consultative Committee, “it is intended as a formal platform for civil society to lend its voice to the EPA implementation process, which we have an interest in making as inclusive as possible with respect to the stakeholders involved.” He further noted, “while, regrettably, the pace at which the slate of CARIFORUM representatives on the Consultative Committee is being worked out has been slower than any of us would have hoped, I am happy to report that we are now on the cusp of bringing this effort to fruition. We expect that the meeting with CARIFORUM non-State actors next week will pave the way for the crystallization of the Consultative Committee in short order.”

The CARICOM Secretariat has been conducting consultations towards presenting a slate of CARIFORUM representatives to the Consultative Committee for approval by the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council, which as the highest of the Joint Institutions is charged with deciding on participation with a view to ensuring a broad representation of all interested parties. To that end, the Secretariat has invited certain civil society organizations to indicate an interest in serving on the Consultative Committee, and those that responded positively have been invited to the Port of Spain Meeting.

The Meeting will discuss the role and functions of the Consultative Committee, whilst providing for a briefing of civil society participants. The briefing will provide an overview of the state-of-play of the implementation of the EPA, in an effort to provide participants with an awareness of the provisions and an appreciation of the implication of the implementation of these provisions.

Participants will also be briefed on the different components under the 10th EDF Programmes designed to assist CARIFORUM States to both facilitate implementation of commitments and take advantage of the benefits under the EPA. The Meeting will also call attention to the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Institutions charged with overseeing the implementation of the Agreement.

In addition, participants will be afforded the opportunity to make brief presentations on their respective institutions and their particular interest with respect to the Consultative Committee. They will also discuss the approach to selection of the proposed members of the CARIFORUM Side of the Consultative Committee, having regard to the terms of Article 232 of the EPA — which provides for the establishment of a CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee — and taking account of criteria including Geographical Spread and Coverage and Sectors to be covered. Modalities for participation are also to be discussed, taking into consideration duration of the appointment, rotation of representation, participation in preparatory meetings and services provided by the CARIFORUM Directorate.

The CARIFORUM Directorate comprises the following two Units, each of which is managed by an Executive Director: (a) The EPA Implementation Unit; (b)    The Development Cooperation and Programming Unit.

The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.