New capacity-building project to provide support for CARIFORUM-EU EPA

News-1Georgetown, Guyana — Key partners involved in a new capacity-building project to support effective implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) met in Georgetown, Guyana, on 19 January 2015, to chart the way forward.

The project, valued at €3,099,915, is financed from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP). In part, the project will provide support to CARIFORUM states to implement commitments undertaken with respect to the CARIFORUM-EU EPA, and will help build capacity in all states. The areas identified for capacity building at the basic, intermediate and tertiary levels are competition, public procurement and customs and trade facilitation. The project’s overall objective is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy.

The meeting of key partners on 19 January brought together representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and Equinoccio Compañía de Comercio Exterior, SL, the contractor. The forum presented an opportunity for the exchange of views on key elements such as administrative requirements, governance matters, and the work plan, including priorities to shape stakeholder engagement in the short term.

Representatives affirmed that the project methodology should strive to embed learning outcomes and materials, on a sustainable basis, among academic and other participating institutions in the region.

Project manager, Eugene Petty, who is also the director of development cooperation in the CARICOM Secretariat-based CARIFORUM Directorate, called attention to “institutional capacity constraints across the region, which continue to hamper progress in the implementation of obligations under the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.”

He said that resources have been set aside to address such constraints and build institutional capacity in the three thematic areas covered by the project.

The head of Equinoccio’s delegation at the meeting, Angel Diez Rubio, in noting the significance of the project, highlighted the strong commitment of his team to partner with the CARICOM Secretariat for the successful implementation of the capacity-building initiative.

The director-general of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Percival Marie, who has overall responsibility for the management of the project, expressed confidence that, given its credentials, Equinoccio and the consortium that the firm represents as the contractor, are well-suited to implement the terms of the consultancy.

Marie also expressed the view that “in light of the project’s provision of significant, targeted capacity-building to a cross section of CARIFORUM stakeholders, it will redound to the benefit of the region’s development.”

Signed on 13 December 2014, the project has a duration of approximately 27 calendar months and is being implemented through a service contract, by CARIFORUM, as the contracting authority, along with Equinoccio, Compañía de Comercio Exterior, SL, the contractor. In the implementation of the project, Equinoccio leads a consortium that comprises: The London School of Economics (LSE) Enterprise, Ltd.; the Maastricht School of Management (MSM); and SGS Netherlands B.V.

CARIFORUM comprises the Caribbean group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.

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