Published On: Fri, Nov 1st, 2013

Inter-agency partnership on EPA implementation deepened

CaricomCARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana - Representatives of regional agencies that are supporting the implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the Caribbean met in St George's, Grenada on 16 October, to discuss the deepening of partnerships.

The Regional EPA Implementation Partner Institutions Meeting was organized by the CARIFORUM Directorate based in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. The Meeting was made possible through funding from the European Union (EU).

The following agencies were represented at the Meeting: the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), the Caribbean Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers' Association (WIRSPA) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat.

These agencies have their own distinctive roles and responsibilities in addressing the capacity-related challenges that affect regional States' ability to take full advantage of the EPA. The agencies are implementing EPA-related programming on behalf of CARIFORUM and, in this regard, they are benefitting from resources under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP) to aid EPA implementation.

At the Meeting the Director-General of the CARIFORUM Directorate and CARIFORUM EPA Coordinator, Mr Percival Marie, led what were interactive, wide-ranging deliberations that elicited views on key actions necessary to strengthen inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

Among the outcomes of the Meeting was agreement on the need for relevant agencies to meet on a regular basis, at the technical level.

The Meeting agreed on the need to intensify information-sharing on EPA-related institutional work programmes, as a means of strengthening synergies. In this regard, it was felt that regional partner institutions should take advantage of cross-cutting competence in similar subject areas.

The need for ongoing dialogue with respect to experiences in awareness raising and visibility strategies was also highlighted, in recognition of the importance of keeping stakeholders informed on the roll-out of the EPA-related work programmes of respective agencies.

In reference to the foregoing, Mr Marie underscored that “this sort of cooperation lends itself to maximizing the support that agencies provide to CARIFORUM States, thus effectively facilitating these States in extracting benefits from the Agreement.”

At the close of the Meeting, Mr Marie expressed satisfaction that the engagement had provided very useful information on the variety, depth and scope of activities of the agencies concerned.

He stated that the Meeting also helped prepare the way for the Second Meeting of National EPA Coordinators and Heads of National EPA Implementation Units and Like Entities. This Meeting took place in Grenada on 17-18 October.

 

The fifteen signatory CARIFORUM States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.

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