The CARICOM Civil Society Project which is funded under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Integration Support Programme (CISP) commenced in March 2010.
It’s primary goal is facilitating regional Civil Society participation and engagement in the Caribbean Integration Process, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The Project comprises two (2) main components:
– Country National Consultations
– A Regional Consultation to facilitate an exchange of views among regional stakeholders.
The main technical work was undertaken by a Regional Civil Society Organisation. Caribbean Policy Development Center (CPDC).
The main outputs of the Project are:
-A Consolidated Report of the National Consultations
-A Report of the Regional Consultation
-A Regional Strategic Framework
-A comprehensive database on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
National Consultations with Civil Society – were conducted in fourteen (14) CARICOM Member States over the period June to October 2010. National Consultations were not held in Suriname,however Suriname’s civil society representatives provided responses to questionnaires and participated actively in the regional consultations.
The Regional Consultation was held on 10-11 February 2011 in Trinidad and Tobago. Over seventy-five (75) civil society representatives, drawn from regional and national membership of CSOs, from thirteen (13) CARICOM Member States participated (Grenada and Haiti did not participate).
The Civil Society project presented an opportunity to refocus on the CARICOM-Civil Society relationship. However, several challenges remain, including capacity constraints that affect state and non-state actors alike.
The participants agreed on the following course of action as a priority:
the need to develop improved civil society networks at the national and regional levels;
the need to improve existing structures and operations of the organisations and their relationships with counterparts, nationally and beyond
the need for more regular/institutionalised structured and meaningful engagement/partnership with policy makers at all levels
the need to jointly address the capacity needs of the sector.
The primary constraints and concerns of the Sector in all Member States were identified as:
-Sustainability of volunteerism and consequently of civil society organisations
CARICOM Member States and Regional Civil Society are currently considering the final report of the Regional Consultation as well as a revised Regional Strategic Framework and Action Plan with a view to developing an implementation plan.