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CARICOM calls for new joint regulatory standards ahead of UK parliament debate

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — In a statement on Saturday, ahead of a UK Parliamentary debate on Tuesday on a Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that will have an effect on the financial services of the Overseas Countries and Territories, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) called on members of the FATF and OECD Global Forum to work together to establish new international regulatory standards in areas such as beneficial ownership and tax information exchange, as opposed to unilateral measures.

“Such co-operation would be in the best interest of all in the pursuit of a more economically prosperous future, underpinned by international institutions, and where all societies, their internal institutions and peoples are respected,” the statement read.

 

CARICOM associate members, which include Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, are an integral part of the Caribbean Community family whose circumstances, self-governance and democratic rights should not be disregarded, the statement noted.

“In that context, we are deeply concerned about the potential impact on their economies by any impositions that would go against the spirit of democracy and diminish their standard of living. A number of our associate members have for some time run successful financial centres that meet the high standards of regulation set by international standard setting bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and OECD Global Forum,” CARICOM said.

CARICOM recognises that global security and financial crime are increasingly intertwined and therefore supports the work of the FATF and its regional bodies in developing international AML/CFT standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Within the Community, our member states and associate members have expended considerable resources towards achieving compliance with AML/CFT standards. Countries in the region have also supported global initiatives led by the OECD Global Forum and have entered the necessary international agreements to facilitate the sharing of information on beneficial ownership,” the statement added.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

DAIC Business Recovery Expo

Interested in investing or selling to Dominica?
Explore the opportunity at the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) Business Recovery Expo.

Date: February 21, 2018
Venue: Palm Cottage, Corner Victoria and High Streets, Roseau, Dominica
Time: 9:00am to 1:00pm

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information

A regional private sector organisation – To what purpose?

In 1955, a private sector mission of the West Indian Incorporated Chambers of Commerce headed by Sir Garnet Gordon kick-started what later became known in 1970 as the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC). Its aim was to be the voice of the private sector in the region, representing private sector interests at meetings of Heads of Government and liaising with international bodies to further the agenda of the business community and to position the region as an economic hub for global trade.

In recent times, the CAIC had withdrawn from its original construct as a regional Business Support Organisation (BSO) dominated by powerhouse BSOs and multinational corporations that seeks the interest of its own constituents bolstered by support from their National Governments. CAIC’s withdrawal has been in an effort to not compete or poach in the territory of the national BSOs.

Its restructuring in 2012 hoped that the CAIC would become a repository of information; which the BSOs are usually loathe to share, and while there is distrust between the private sector and the government, there is also distrust amongst private sector organisations. This been compounded by changes in officials in both the government and the private sector, the economic state of the region and indeed the rest of the world.

The Caribbean Business Council

The call for the formation of the Caribbean Business Council (CBC) 11 years ago has been supported (and initiated) by the CAIC, whom, along with the CARICOM Secretariat attempted to operationalise the Council. In recent times the CAIC chaired the Steering Committee for the CBC organised by Caribbean Export who were to collaborate with the CARICOM Secretariat as decided by the 39th COTED.

A major challenge towards operationalising the CBC is the removal and natural cycles of leadership that has occurred over the past years. In waiting for the CBC to kickstart, many large companies have moved on and made inroads into new markets with and without the assistance of their governments. Whilst they may want to look upon the CAIC and find it irrelevant, what relevance then can the CBC give them, if constructed using the same model? Would it quell the distrust between organisations who should be working together?

Thus far, the initially proposed structure of the CBC did not differ from that of the CAIC 60 years ago, nor did it take into account the volatile conditions of global trade even though a new model for the CBC has been voted on by the usual powerhouses. A strong recommendation from the CAIC is that it be made up of a National Private Sector Organisation from each CARICOM member states and pan-regional private sector organisations with a rotating chair.

The CAIC believes that the CBC can be a true attempt at integration on a level that governments have failed. However, who would the CBC represent? CARICOM territories? CARIFORUM? The definition of the Caribbean adopted by the CAIC hails from the OAS which deems the Caribbean as all shores washed by the Caribbean Sea. It should be recognised however, that the CBC will become an affiliate arm of the CARICOM Community (CARICOM), and thus the recommendation is that it be a CARICOM Business Council.

In support of the CBC it is hoped that it would be representative of the CARICOM region, moving the region to a state of profitability where it can become a bargaining power rather than reliant on concessions; not a reinvention of the wheel expecting a different outcome with the same pillars to satisfy egos.

Where is the CAIC?

In an editorial from the Jamaica Gleaner of December 12, 2017, the editor asked if the CAIC could be the sort of organisation that purported to be the umbrella organisation for private sector organisations. With no physical office and an outsourced Secretariat, the CAIC was reduced to insolvency by the previous Heads as the once “big boys club” lost the support that its constitution defined as its backbone, with a look to establishing a new club whilst clamouring for a body to represent its interests and mediate with governments and international bodies.

In its current reincarnation, the CAIC has worked over the past five years intra-regionally on matters such as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Business Continuity, which has suddenly exploded as the topic of the day and everyone wants to jump on the wagon in the hopes that there is funding to be had. Trade with Russia, China, the Pacific and South East Asian territories, deemed to be too far away for businesses wanting to expand outside the region, have also been on CAIC’s agenda along with ACP and CARIFORUM-EU relations, the monitoring of the EPA, and the WTO agenda in engaging the private sector.

Losing the support of its founding members, the CAIC works predominantly with MSMEs and devotes its efforts to the creative industries including the fashion industry, trade in services, investment promotion and assisting both former stakeholders and financial members when called upon. Rife with the distrust in the region, CARICOM agencies would also call upon the CAIC to lend support and provide feedback while attempting to measure what mettle the CAIC may still hold in the region.

CAIC’s work with MSMEs is dominated by the fact that a major percentage of the private sector labour force is engaged in more entrepreneurship and small-scale expansion of businesses that survive the three-year mark. With increasing importance placed on MSMEs by various international bodies such as the WTO, the CAIC views the MSMEs as the future and can no longer be regarded as a small fish in the pond that larger enterprises disregard in seeking their own agenda.

The CAIC has also taken a position to support the decent work programme and the creation of more sustainable and value-oriented products and services. These concepts move away from the evolved culture of fast food, fast fashion, cheap products and cost cutting in the work environment and work force. This position may not hold well with some of our major stakeholders who are in the “merchant trade industry” but it is hoped that we can influence them to come into alignment with this strategy so we can preserve the depleting natural resources.

 

A Private Sector Organisation for the future

In crafting the CBC, which organisations believe would rob them of their independence, we should instead envision what private sector advocacy action and opportunities can be realised with the formation of the CBC. Given the economic hardships in the region and tribulations of BSOs, other fears arise with the financing of the CBC. Where would it come from? Locally? Do we go after international funding? In what areas? Which agency has funding for this purpose? Are we sure or are we doing guesswork? If not, the fears of organisations, big or small can either be alleviated or confirmed as a threat.

The CBC could change the tide and add value to the region giving voice to those who are otherwise disregarded such as the Haitians who are aggressively taking their goods and services to market, no longer begging and looking for handouts. However, their efforts are overshadowed by corrupt governments demanding aid that rarely filters down.

Are we prepared for an all-encompassing CARICOM represented business council? Giving heed to the needs of the territories that may be small but with talent to bolster and add experience, corporate governance, direction and progress to our existing regional agencies? Or are we simply trying to see what money we can swindle from the Europeans whilst tearing down the foundation of one organisation and rebuilding it in the same image and likeness to function as its predecessor.

 

This is the first of a three-part series by the CAIC on the subject matter with support for a common agenda.

Call for good practices of the private sector in DRR

he United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is inviting its partners, institutions and people interested in Disasters Risk Reduction from the Americas to share their Good Practices of the Private Sector in Disaster Risk Reduction.

The overall purpose of the Call for good practices of the private sector in DRR is to promote and exchange experiences on how the private sector is engaged in DRR in the Americas. The good practices can be related to how the private sector contributes to the implementation of DRR, how the private sector is making its business and community resilient, and how the private sector and the public sector work together on DRR.

Share your DRR experience for the chance to attend the 6th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will take place from 20 to 22 June 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia to present 'best practices' during a segment in the Ignite Stage.

Registration deadline:  March 15th, 2018


Please fill out your application online at the following link: http://eird.org/americas/call-for-good-practices-of-drr-in-private-sector/index.html

For more information contact Marianela Guzman Vargas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Devastation brought out generousity and spirit of togetherness - CARICOM Chair

End of Year Message by the Chairman of the Caribbean Community Dr. The Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada

There is no doubt that 2017 has been a most eventful year for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We experienced a scale of multi-country devastation never before seen in the Region as two category five Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, raged through the Caribbean within two weeks.

The Governments and people of our Community immediately responded to assist their brothers and sisters with the generosity and spirit of togetherness which is our trademark. I therefore must pay tribute to those who so willingly extended a helping hand in the hour of need of our brothers and sisters in the stricken countries.
Even before the hurricane season was over, the resilient people that we are, we had begun to rally. We determined that we could use the rebuilding process to become the first climate resilient region in the world.

Recognising that we did not have the resources to achieve that goal on our own, we sought the assistance of the international community.

First, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we organised the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, “Building a More Climate-Resilient Community,” which was held in November at the UN Headquarters in New York. It brought together nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organisations and the private sector, and raised more than US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

In early December, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, a Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition was launched in partnership with Sir Richard Branson. The Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition seeks rapid implementation of a US$8 billion climate investment plan that will transform the regional energy system, build resilience, drive economic growth and set us on the road to being a climate resilient Region. Key areas for the initiative are: Resilient Housing and Shelter; Renewable Energy; Tourism and the Blue Economy; Physical Infrastructure; Government Systems and Security; Food Security and Climate-Smart Agriculture; and Human Capacity Development.

There has been a tremendous international response to this Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition. The private sector, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and UNDP have also played key roles as core partners of this initiative. In addition, the Green Climate Fund and The Nature Conservancy have also come forward with support. We anticipate starting implementation across the Caribbean in the New Year, while there is ongoing emergency work already being carried out in the affected countries.


Together we can build thriving economies fueled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation.


As a Region, we have been moving ahead in other areas as well. Heads of Government welcomed and approved the Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy as well as the Roadmap for a Single ICT Space. This would enhance the environment for investment and production, provide an opportunity for innovation to flourish, support a sustainable increase in growth and jobs, enhance efficiency in, and increase access to public services.


There has also been progress in our efforts to enhance the safety and security of our people. Several Member States signed the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty which simplifies the procedure of returning fugitives to the country where charges have been laid. An expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System and planned introduction of the Advance Cargo Information System also signify the importance attached to the issue of Security.


During the year, we also took a hard look at the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and approved an Implementation Plan for 2017-2019 to accelerate the use of the measures under the regime. A lot has been achieved in implementing the CSME, including legal and institutional measures and mechanisms to support the free movement of goods, services, skills, and cross-border establishment of businesses. However, we will continue to review progress regularly to ensure that the benefits of this important aspect of our integration are accruing to our citizens.


One of the most important drivers of the Community’s economy, tourism, received special attention as we sought to address both immediate and long-term initiatives aimed at stimulating sustainable growth in tourism. We focused on marketing strategies and agreed to support various Public-Private Sector initiatives, which would entail engagement with other Caribbean countries, companies and multilateral organizations.


Engagements at the highest level with the Presidents of Mexico and Cuba enabled us to solidify those relationships and resulted in increased strands of co-operation, particularly in disaster risk management. This is a particularly important area for us, given the predicted rise in the intensity and frequency of climatic events for our Region.

Lessons learnt from this year’s experiences will serve us well as we go forward in the era of the “new normal.” We have proven that we can withstand the slings and arrows of misfortune and bounce back stronger than ever. Let us continue to band together and ensure that we build a resilient Caribbean Community for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

My brothers and sisters, as we enjoy this festive season, let us spare more than a thought for those who are still in difficult circumstances. Happy Holidays and a bright, creative and productive New Year.

 

Courtesy: CARICOM Secretariat

 

 

Request for Nominations - CARICOM Energy Personality Award

“Do you know someone who has made, or is making now, an exceptional contribution towards increasing access or utilization of sustainable energy in the Region?” or “Have you, yourself, made a significant difference in the energy sector in your community, your country, or the Region as a whole?”


During the CARICOM Energy Month, the Energy Personality Award will give recognition to champions of a sustainable future for the Caribbean. You can nominate a colleague, someone you admire, someone who has done groundbreaking work, and that someone can be You, as we accept self-nominations.


To make a nomination see the Rules and Guidelines and download the Energy Personality Award Nomination Form

Eligibility
o This call for nomination is open to all CARICOM nationals and citizens
o Nominees must be involved in or have made contributions by way of an initiative towards achieving the sustainable development goals; in particular those related to energy in any of the following categories:
 Renewable Energy
 Energy Efficiency and Conservation
 Energy Access
 Rural Electrification
 Other categories will be considered
o Entries will only be judged if they meet the eligibility criteria
o The Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat as well as the Energy Personality Award Judges and their immediate family are not eligible to participate


Nomination Stage
This will be a Regional Award taking place for all CARICOM Member States. The call for nomination will be launched during CARICOM Energy Month 2017 over a four (4) week period). The winner will be announced during March 2018.


Entry Period
The Energy Personality Award begins on Monday, November 13, 2017 and ends on Friday, December 15, 2017. Nominations submitted after the entry period will not be
eligible.

How to Enter
o Nominations for the award must be submitted by completing the Energy Personality Award Nomination Form which can be also be found on the CARICOM.Energy Facebook
Page 
o The form must be fully completed to be deemed as a successful entry and should be
submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
o Proof of nationality or citizenship – submit a scanned copy of any one of the following (Birth Certificate / Bio-data page of passport / Identification card)
Guidelines
o Self-nomination is permitted
o Nominators are required to provide evidence of their nominees contributions
o Nominees are required to support their nominators contribution


Criteria & Judging
o The selection process will take place during the period January to February, 2018
o Winners for the Regional Energy Personality Award will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges
o Nominations will be judged on the following criteria:


Criteria Weight
Innovation / Creativity 30 %
Social and Environmental Impact 20 %
Economic and Technical Impact 20 %
Replicability and Scalability 20 %
Motivation 10 %

Questions
Questions about the Rules and Guidelines and Nomination Form can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Nomination Form
The Energy Personality Award Nomination Form contains five (5) Sections:
Section 1. General Contact Information
Section 2. Summary Information related to the Initiative
Section 3. Detailed Information related to the Initiative
Section 4. Documentation and Proof of Initiative
Section 5. Declaration and Authorization


Checklist for submission:
 Proof of Nationality or Citizenship
 CV of Nominee ( Section 1 of Nomination Form )
 Photos and Documentation (Section 4 of Nomination Form)
 Completed and signed Nomination Form (Section 5 of Nomination Form)

Caribbean Tourism continues record growth

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday November 27, 2017 – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Caribbean tourism continues to grow at record pace, with data from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) showing that the region has welcomed 16.6 million visitors for the first six months of the year.

The figure is 800,000 more than for the similar period in 2016, constituting a growth rate of 5.22 per cent.

Minister Bartlett, who was giving the welcome address at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre today, said tourism in the region grew at an unprecedented rate of 4.2 per cent in 2016, outpacing the global average of 3.9 per cent.

This, he said, was amid volatility and uncertainty in main source markets, such as the United States and parts of Europe.

“The region welcomed a historic 29 million visitors in 2016, over one million more visitors than in 2015. The data for 2016 also indicate that cruise tourism in the region is booming, as cruise passenger arrivals grew by an estimated 1.3 per cent, to approximately 26.3 million in 2016,” he pointed out.

He said Jamaica’s tourism performance for 2017 has been impressive, with the country on track to surpass last year’s historic growth rate of four per cent or 3.84 million visitors in total.

“We welcomed over 3.3 million visitors in the first nine months of 2017 and we expect total arrivals to surpass four million by the first week of December,” he told conference delegates.

“Gross foreign exchange earnings for the first 10 months of the year were US$2.34 billion, which is a 10.8 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2016. We remain firmly committed and convinced that our tourism industry is on the right track and that we will achieve our growth target of ‘five in five’ or five per cent annual growth rate in five years,” he said.

The Minister noted that the tourism sector in the region has traditionally been very resilient and remains one of the most valuable contributors to job creation, poverty alleviation, investments, export revenues, gross domestic product (GDP) and to the economic livelihoods of millions of citizens.

He said, however, that “its gentle balance can be easily disturbed by a wide range of risks and threats”.

“These include global economic recessions, global food shortages, an oil crisis, political instability in major source markets, terrorist attacks, environmental disasters and pandemics and epidemics, just to name a few,” Bartlett said.

“As we have seen recently with the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it just takes one powerful disaster to devastate whole national economies, thus we can never become complacent.”

The Tourism Minister said regional heads will now have to reassess existing strategies for managing risks and challenges, incorporate new approaches and harness new opportunities for growth and expansion in the tourism sector.

“Indeed, the sustainability and resilience of our tourism sector is hinged upon us being forward-thinking, proactive, collaborative, multifaceted and innovative in our approaches to tourism development in the region,” he argued.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

Joint Statement of the 3rd Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee

Joint Statement

From the Third Meeting of

The CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee

  1. The Third Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee (CC) took place on 6 and 7 November 2017 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Co-chaired By Dav-Ernan Kowlessar from the CARIFORUM side and Brenda King from the EU side. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Cariforum States and the European Union, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society. The agreement also recognises the role of the CC in monitoring the implementation of all economic, social and environmental aspects of the EPA and in strengthening dialogue between representatives of civil society.
  1. In order to provide added value to EPA implementation, the CC acknowledged that its 3 main goals are: (1) to be a sounding board; (2) to provide technical support and advice; and (3) to raise awareness and disseminate information.
  1. The CC appreciated that the Head of the EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago participated in the opening session. The CC strongly encourages and welcomes participation of officials from both Parties in future meetings.

  1. Given the importance of services in the economies of Cariforum and EU countries, the CC welcomes the emphasis put on services by the Cariforum-EU Joint Council and Joint Parliamentary Assembly and therefore calls for the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Working Group on Services.
  1. The CC highlighted the following issues related to trade in services:
  1. The importance of better collection of statistics and disaggregated data by country and sector;
  2. The need to work on data protection regulation so that adequacy can be further negotiated with relevant authorities;
  3. The importance of advancingthe work on mutual recognition of professional qualifications;
  4. The importance of expanding the provisions for business visas.
  1. The CC emphasised other key areas related to:
  1. Youth development and entrepreneurship, insisting on the importance of access to finance and encouraging the development of business incubators;
  2. Creating a more enabling environment for the further development of MSMEs, including microfinancing, in particular in sectors such as agriculture and fisheries;
  3. Building resilience to the impact of climate change, insisting on the importance of climate adaptation,disaster risk reduction and transition to renewable energies, as well as on the effects that this might have on productive capabilities;
  4. The need to ensure that social aspects, core labour standards and the decent work agenda are considered in the EPA implementation;
  5. Partnerships on research and development, calling for the creation of an enabling environment by connecting CSOs, academia and governments including via public-private academic partnerships.
  1. The CC expressed concerns about the potential serious impact on trade between the two Parties due to the exiting of the United Kingdom from the EU. Therefore, the CC encourages the Parties to anticipate and mitigate any reduction of trade by diversifying trade activities into the EU27
  1. Concerns were raised regarding the non-ratification of the agreement by some Cariforum and EU countries, as well as to the impact that non-ratification might have on certain sectors. Furthermore, the CC calls for clarification from the Parties on implications of the provisional implementation of the EPAs on both sides.
  1. The CC calls for an early adoption and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and reiterates the need for the CC to be involved in the setting up of such a mechanism, as well as in the discussions on monitoring indicators.
  1. The CC considers that the monitoring and evaluation should include relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target indicators, as well as ILO core labour standards and decent work indicators.
  1. The CC calls for observer status at the Trade and Development (T&D) Committee in order to facilitate access to relevant documents from other EPA bodies for the effective functioning of the its work. The CC for its part is willing to contribute to the transparency by publishing relevant documents on webpages, and would like in particular to draw the attention to initiatives led by the Caribbean social partners in this sense.
  1. The CC reiterates the importance of being in receipt of an adequate and transparent budget for its functioning and for the implementation of its work plan, which was finalised and adopted at the meeting and is attached as an annex to this joint statement.
  1. The next meeting of the CC will be in 2018 to coincide with the next meeting of the T&D Committee and the Joint Council.

_____________

Expression of Interest - Private Sector Representative on CARICOM Development Fund

We are seeking Expressions of Interest from suitable candidates to be nominated by the CAIC as the Private Sector Representative on the CARICOM Development Fund.

Ms. Bobbi McKay, Executive Director Barbados Manufacturers Association, whose term as the representative has come to an end was nominated by the CAIC.

Interested candidates are asked to send a copy of their CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Tuesday November 21, 2017 to facilitate the CAIC's nomination to the CARICOM Secretary General by November 24, 2017.

Opening Remarks at Third Joint Consultative Committee of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA

Opening Remarks to the Third CARIFORUM-EU EPA Joint Consultative Committee Meeting

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 6-7/11/17
CARIFORUM Chair - Dav-Ernan Kowlessar


Good Morning,
Head of the EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Mr. Arend Biesebroek, Co-Chair of the Joint Consultative Committee, Ms. Brenda King, Representatives from CARIFORUM and EU civil society organisations, representatives of the CARIFORUM and EESC Secretariats and other invited participants and observers. It is my distinct honour and pleasure as the Chair of the CARIFORUM side of the JCC to welcome all of you to this third meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee.


Within the framework of the EPA, the Joint Consultative Committee institutionalises civil society engagement in the role of assisting and advising the Joint Council, whose responsibility (in turn) involves the operation and implementation of the EPA. The JCC is as well tasked with assisting and advising the Trade and Development Committee, which, in turn assists the Joint Council with its duties in the implementation and application of the Agreement.


It is expected that the Joint Consultative Committee would promote dialogue and cooperation between and amongst civil society representatives and organisations. However, as part of our responsibility we can take initiative and make recommendations to the Joint Council on three intrinsically linked aspects of the Agreement - social, economic and environmental.


The structure of the EPA involves various Committees that oversee different aspects of the Agreement and some of us sitting here are involved and/or informed through the various “hats” we wear. At this Third Meeting of the JCC, through our agenda it is our aim to raise the prominence and impact of the CC by moving from dialogue to action (It is important to note that the JCC is not able to make decisions but has to work on its relationship with the Committees that can..)


In a 2011 discussion paper by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) on ‘How to make the EPA Joint CC work effectively’, which looks at civil society participation in the implementation of the EPA, there were some (still relevant) key considerations for our work to be of practical added value to the implementation process. There were three key functions the JCC could play: -
1. We can inform the Joint Council about major economic and societal concerns in the implementation so that we could feed into possible ways to advance the implementation, and
2. We can provide on-the-ground information and technical advice on the monitoring and implementation of the EPA or
3. We can be a public relation exercise.


To add value, there needs to be integration amongst the Civil Society Organisations as our ability to represent the interests of the members and stakeholders of our organisations is what gives us legitimacy to function genuinely.


Therefore, starting today, let’s remove the barriers between the Cariforum side and the EU side; this is not a negotiating platform; but rather, let’s leverage on the synergies between both parties and achieve a fair, decent and common platform to co-exist. As I tell my labour colleagues, we don’t have to agree on everything, but certainly we have a symbiotic relationship that can flourish to each other’s advantage.


While the CARIFORUM side faces major challenges to participating effectively in the CC due to coordination of the civil society actors, unresolved CARICOM matters and the inability to make substantive input into the policy process, we recognise the support of the EU, which allows the civil society organisations to produce research and conduct capacity building exercises.


Having recently been party to two major Civil Society / Non-State Actor forum where the collective energies of this dynamic were able to achieve consensus through focus on a common forward thinking objective, I am certain this new paradigm, especially for the Caribbean, can be achieved. The first of these was with the 9th meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean Civil Society in relation to the EU, and the second with the first Non State Actor forum of the ACP; we intend to bring these discussions to the meeting’s attention for their consideration.
Since the last meeting of the JCC there are specific issues we wish to bring to the table due to their impact on progress made and our ability to optimise value. These will be structured under the three pillars of the social, economic environment framework, which are inherently connected, and in the latter, affected by changes in the global market.


The issue of monitoring and evaluation seems elusive so it is intended that we make it simple yet effective. As an example, a look at the trade in goods statistics for 3 years to 2016, between the EU and its Caribbean counterparts shows that EU Imports have been on the decline over the three years and whilst they held steady between 2015 and 2016, they increased over 2014. What is even more impactful is that the gap between imports and exports has widened in favour of EU exporters.


The response to climate change and the stimulus it has on our regions’ susceptibility to seasonal weather conditions; and the matter of disaster risk reduction, which follows through on climate change with business continuity being a key factor in recovery.


This third meeting of the JCC is an excellent opportunity for us to make a paradigm shift to add practical value to the JC and TDC through the exchange of information and views on the progress and impact of the implementation of the EPA.


It also provides an opportunity to identify and recommend resolution to any additional existing issues that may be preventing the effective implementation of the EPA.


This is a great responsibility, which requires our collective wisdom, experience and serious consideration with an open, constructive and candid exchange of views.


We look forward to a productive two-day meeting and await your conclusions and recommendations since they will contribute greatly to the implementation of the EPA for the development of our regions, to our mutual benefit.

 

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