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CARIFORUM Platform to be Strengthened, says New DG

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)    Mr. Percival Marie, a national of the Commonwealth of Dominica, assumes office on August 1 as Director-General of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) Directorate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat. He replaces Mr. Ivan Ogando Lora.

Mr. Marie who has been appointed for a period of three years stated that his priority will be to effect an integrated, comprehensive approach to the work of the two Units that comprise the Directorate. This approach, he said, forms part of a targeted strategy.

On the one hand, that strategy is intended to make the respective Units even more responsive to the needs of regional states. This comes at a time when the Region is purposively adapting to changing realities in respect of (ACP)/European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM/EU relations, including the landmark Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

On the other, Mr. Marie said, the strategy is geared at sustaining dynamic, productive partnerships forged between the CARIFORUM Directorate and partner institutions, in light of certain shared responsibilities regarding the advancement of facets of the respective work programmes of the Directorate’s two Units.

The recently-concluded Special Meeting of the Council of Ministers of CARIFORUM, convened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 14 June 2013, approved Mr. Marie’s selection by the Bureau of the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Marie has had a long association with CARIFORUM, having worked for the then CARIFORUM Secretariat and its successor, the CARIFORUM Directorate. He has served as Executive Director, CARIFORUM Directorate. Most recently, he held the post of Executive Director, Resource Mobilisation and Technical Assistance in the CARICOM Secretariat. The Director-General of CARIFORUM is also the CARIFORUM EPA Coordinator. The latter function is provided for in Article 234 of the EPA.

The Director-General of CARIFORUM reports to the Secretary-General of CARIFORUM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque who is also the Secretary-General of CARICOM.

The Directorate is in the midst of a transition. In addition to the new Director-General the new Director, EPA Implementation and Director, Development Cooperation are also coming onboard. The Director, EPA Implementation will be Mr Carlos Wharton, a Barbadian national and senior trade policy professional. He also takes up the post on August 1. The post of Director, Development Cooperation will be filled on August 12 by Mr Eugene Petty, a national of St Kitts and Nevis and a former Programme Manager, Resource Mobilisation and Technical Assistance at the Secretariat.

The CARIFORUM Directorate comprises two pillars. Organizationally, the Directorate’s traditional programming and development cooperation function, with its own dedicated staff, falls to the Development Cooperation Unit. For its part the EPA Implementation Unit facilitates the implementation of the interregional trade and development accord. Notably, the Unit extends technical support to national counterparts with responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the provisions of the EPA.

Going forward, the strategic and programmatic direction of the CARIFORUM Directorate will be informed by several priority areas that have come up for consideration by the Council of Ministers of CARIFORUM, the principal policy-making organ of the regional configuration.

The areas that have been the subject of deliberations by regional policymakers include: (i) the governance of CARIFORUM, (ii) implementation of the Joint Caribbean-EU Strategy, and in this regard consideration of a programme of support in the context of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Indicative Programme. Presently, there are no financing provisions for the Joint Strategy; and (iii) further support for regional and national efforts to advance on the implementation of the EPA, leveraging institutional partnerships.

The fifteen signatory CARIFORUM States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.

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