Greater Georgetown,GUYANA, 2 August 2012/ CARICOM/ ACP: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is convening a meeting of national coordinators and heads of national implementation units of the15 Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

The Meeting, on 2 and 3 August in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will allow for sharing of experiences on the status of EPA implementation at the national and regional levels, as well as the strengthening of coordination and network building among regional EPA functionaries so as to improve the flow of EPA relevant information across CARIFORUM.

The Director General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Mr Iván Ogando Lora said the meeting was “the first one of its kind.”

He underscored that, “the CARIFORUM Directorate has long recognized the need for such a meeting to be mounted, and its convening at this juncture is a timely opportunity to enhance the Region’s preparation for the upcoming CARIFORUM-EU Trade and Development Committee (TDC), tentatively scheduled to take place by the end of September 2012. A range of issues to be included in the agenda of the TDC will be up for discussion.”

At the meeting, EPA implementation units report on their activities, including difficulties encountered, their respective work programmes, status of implementation of the EPA in CARIFORUM States and availability of financial resources to support EPA implementation. CARIFORUM Directorate staffers will call attention to the different components under the 10th EDF Programmes designed to assist CARIFORUM States to enable them to both facilitate implementation of commitments and take advantage of the benefits under the EPA.

In addition, the Meeting will also provide for an exchange of views on the approach to monitoring EPA implementation regionally and nationally. The Meeting will also discuss the Institutions established by the EPA, the work of the ones that have already been convened and the state-of-play with regard to the constituting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee.

Taking place under the aegis of the CARIFORUM Directorate, the meeting is made possible through the generous support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA). Additional support is being provided by UKaid from the Department for International Development, through the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund).

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.

– CARICOM Secretariat