CARIFORUM countries examine EPA Standby facility

Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries have been urged to take advantage of the standby facility for capacity building under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed with the European Union in 2008.

Addressing a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) organised Technical Briefing Meeting on the EPA Standby Facility for Capacity Building, Clairvair Squires, said the facility is intended to assist CARIFORUM states by underpinning national institutional capacities

The senior CDB official CARIFORUM countries, comprising the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and The Dominican Republic, typically fall short on account of their size and levels of development.

As a result the EPA Standby Facility is expected to shore up the ability of these countries to address a variety of EPA implementation imperatives, against the backdrop of efforts to devise national EPA implementation plans.

The three year EPA Standby Facility of Euro 3.5 million (One Euro =US$1.30 cents) is coming on stream as part of a suite of initiatives financed under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) that is aimed at lending support to CARIFORUM in the implementation of commitments under the EPA in several areas.

These include fiscal reform and adjustment; sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) programme; technical barriers to trade; services sector and institutional and implementation capacity.

The Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), which the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) manages, is the first initiative to be approved under the 10th EDF EU-CARIFORUM Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP).

According to a statement issued by the CARICOM EPA Unit, the objective of Thursday’s meeting here was to provide participants with the skills and knowledge required to complete or lead the completion of a results-focused application to the EPA Standby Facility that is in accordance with the Facility’s screening and appraisal criteria as well as manage the implementation of an EPA Standby Facility-financed project towards achieving planned outcomes.

It was also intended to help participants prepare proposals for submission to the Facility which, as relevant, address similar capacity building needs of other CARIFORUM states.