CARICOM Secretariat partners with UNDP to advance CSME implementation

CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s Technical Action Services Unit (TASU) is intensifying its efforts to build capacity within CARICOM Member States to effectively participate in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

TASU, which was established as a rapid response Unit to provide technical support to Member States in advancing the implementation of the CSME, is spearheading a needs-assessment project titled Strengthening the CARICOM/UNDP Partnership for Sustainable Development: Evaluation of TASU Interventions and Needs Assessment in Member States through funding from the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).

The project seeks to assess needs within CARICOM Member States to inform future interventions and it encompasses an evaluation of the Unit’s past interventions to determine areas where successes have been accrued; failures and lessons learned.

Technical Coodinator of TASU, Mr. Melbour Phillip said that the first needs-assessment, conducted in 1995 during TASU’s infancy, had guided its work. The time had come to determine whether its strategies over the years had been effective and where modification was necessary, the Coordinator stated.

Since the Needs Assessment project began June last, consultations have been held with government officials in CARICOM Member States in sectors including education, immigration, services, labour, and trade and commerce in Belize, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana. Consultations will continue from 29 September – 1 October in Jamaica and Dominica simultaneously, and 4 – 5 October in Antigua and Barbuda. The project targets eight CARICOM countries.

Mr. Phillip said that the information gathered so far had revealed that there was need for institutional strengthening in key areas to advance the implementation of the CSME, including mechanisms for accreditation and standards to allow for the movement of goods, capital and people within the Community, as provided for in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

“Most Member States do not have accreditation boards because of the lack of capacity,” Mr. Phillip said.

Among the CARICOM Member States, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have organised accreditation bodies. Part of the needs assessment project will allow for Member States to assist each other in the setting up of similar mechanisms.

The Technical Coordinator said that even as this project was under way, similar studies done by the Secretariat were being reviewed to extract recommendations, in the on-going effort to help CARICOM Member States build capacity to advance the integration movement.

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