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Regional Sensitisation and Needs Assessment Workshops convened

A capacity-building project which focuses on Competition, Pubic Procurement and Customs and Trade Facilitation for CARIFORUM stakeholders was formally launched this morning ahead of a workshop to sensitise participants on the training opportunities available under the project. A workshop to conduct an assessment of training needs of CARIFORUM States in the three referenced areas will follow on 26th-27thMarch 2015.

The launch at Duke Lodge, Kingston, Georgetown, was chaired by Mr. Percival Marie, Director-General, CARIFORUM Directorate. Remarks were made by the Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana, and current chair of CARIFORUM; Ambassador Robert Kopecký, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dutch OCTs; and Mr. Angel Diez, Managing Director of Equinoccio, Compañia de Comercio Exterior S.L.

The project, valued at €3,099,915, is scheduled to last twenty-seven months and is financed from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) through the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (2008-2013). The project’s overall objective is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM States into the world economy. In particular, the project will provide support to CARIFORUM States to implement commitments under the CARIFORUM-EU EPA through building capacity in all states in the above-mentioned areas.

Beneficiary countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Regional Sensitization Workshop, is the first of the two workshops scheduled for this week and will bring together National Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Coordinators from the CARIFORUM States, as well as representatives of Regional Institutions and other non-state actors. These key stakeholders will be informed of the project’s planned activities and the expected results as well as the role of national the EPA Coordinators as focal points for project implementation. The workshop will also serve to establish and strengthen the link between capacity-building activities and effective implementation of CARIFORUM-EU EPA commitments in Public Procurement, Competition, and Customs and Trade Facilitation.

The Needs Assessment Workshop follows immediately and is expected to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the training needs of CARIFORUM States in the areas of focus as they relate to EPA implementation, and to prepare course outlines for training-based, capacity-building programmes.

These workshops are being held on the heels of a meeting of key partners, held on the 19th January, which brought together representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and Equinoccio, S.L., the contractor, to discuss and agree on key project elements, including administrative requirements, governance and a work plan.

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