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September 13, 2013

19th CARIFORUM Council of Ministers Meeting


The Nineteenth (19th) Meeting of the Council of Ministers for Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States was held at Fort Young Hotel, Roseau, Dominica on November 25th, 2011 preceded by two-day preparatory session of officials under the chairmanship of Dominica represented by Dr. Colin McIntyre. This marked the inaugural meeting under the restructured CARIFORUM Directorate. Changes to the governance of CARIFORUM, included the creation of the post of Director-General as head and appointment of Mr. Ivan Ogando Lora from the Dominican Republic in the aforementioned position as well as the move of the EPA Implementation Unit under the responsibility of CARIFORUM.

On the nine point agenda, the issues under discussion included the update on the implementation of CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), including preparations for the upcoming meetings of the institutions under the Agreement and update on the activities and initiatives to facilitate implementation, updates on issues pertaining to the Development Cooperation and reports from CARIFORUM Institutions including Caribbean Export Development Agenda and Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute (CRITI).

At the opening ceremony, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of CARIFORUM in his inaugural address to the Council reiterated that the region’s major development partner, the EU is going through some difficult financial times and the resources allocated under the 10th European Development Fund should be ‘efficiently programmed and utilized. This should be borne in mind as we review the progress we have made with the 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme. We need to be able to draw down on these resources in the shortest possible time.‘ To the end, the SG reported that at his attendance of Heads of Regional Integration Organisations of the ACP in Brussels that it was mentioned that commitment of resources for CARIFORUM under the 10th EDF Regional Integration Programmes was at eighty (80) percent, the highest in the ACP.

SG also stated that ‘this Meeting will also afford an opportunity to review recent EU proposals for changes in its aid and development policy, including Budget Support. There is also a proposal from the EU for the introduction of the concepts of differentiation and graduation from access to grant resources which will confront some of our Member States. We will need to determine our strategies and approaches for dealing with these matters. Such planning must take place, bearing in mind the political and policy dialogue which we must have with the EU in the coming months. Our discussion must also take place within the context of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Strategy which we are in the process of finalising and which will determine the relationship between CARIFORUM and the EU in the short and medium term.

The importance of the increase in competitiveness and productivity of the private sector being an integral part of the implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA was also highlighted by the SG.

Antigua & Barbuda, at the meeting was represented by Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry – Trade Coordinator and National Authorising Officer for EDF and Ms Barbara Williams – EPA Implementation Coordinator.

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