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September 13, 2013

Signing of the Financing Agreement of the Regional 10th European Development Fund to support EPA capacity building

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On Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Commission signed a financial agreement providing 46.4 million EUROs to boost regional and national capacity to fulfill obligations and commitments as well as take advantage of the opportunities and benefits of the Agreement.

The EPA Capacity Building Programme covers support for the development of Sanitary and Phyto-sanity (SPS) measures, services sector, rum sector and removing of Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The programme also provides institutional support to the CARIFORUM Secretariat for the implementation of the programme and the Regional EPA Unit, assistance for the participation in the Joint Institutions with the EPA and training programmes. Each component of the programme is placed in the responsibility of implementing agencies with technical competence in the area, including a Special Facility is set up to provide support to national EPA focal points to be disbursed by Caribbean Development Bank over the period of thirty-five (35) months.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Forum for the African, Caribbean and Pacific States, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque remarked that ‘the end product (of the Agreement) will have no meaning if people of the Regional do not feel the impact of use of these resources. Impact, results and benefits must be the watchwords at the level of implementation. We must satisfy regional stakeholders that our actions bring them added value to their lives.’

The Secretary General also expressed his appreciation to the EU and its officials in Brussels and the Delegations in Guyana and Barbados for their continued support to the region and assistance in making the Regional Indicative Programme under the 10th EDF a reality. He also expressed ‘the hope that proposed changes in EU Development Policy will not diminish traditional support provided by the EU to CARIFORUM Member States. The Region looks forward to negotiating with the EU a substantial Regional Indicative Programme under the 11th EDF.

Among with the EPA Capacity Building Programme, Financing Agreements were also signed pertaining to programmes dealing with ‘CSME and Economic Integration Programme’ and ‘OECS Economic Integration Programme’ under the 10th EDF. The total financial support of the three Agreements comprise of 82.6 million EUROS of the 165 million EUROs allocation of the Regional Programme of the 10th EDF. The Ambassador Robert Kopecky, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, the Dutch OCTs and CARICOM in his remarks stated that the AgreementsĀ ‘are a testimony of the EU’s continued commitments to support the Caribbean Region in the dynamic process of regional integration and sign another milestone in longstanding relation between the Caribbean Forum of ACP States and the European Union.’

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