On 3-4th December 2018, Yentyl Williams represented ACP YPN at the 4th Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA Consultative Committee (CC) where ACP YPN sit on the EU (EESC) side as the only young professionals network. The meeting which was held in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia, was co-chaired from the CARIFORUM side by Dav-Ernan Kowlessar and from the EU side by Brenda King. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States and the EU, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society.
In the declaration, the CC recognised that in order for it to fulfil its role and to provide added value to EPA implementation, it needs (1) the monitoring and evaluation framework to be in place and implemented, and (2) to be made aware of its budget allocation under the 11th EDF so it can (a) plan for its meetings, (b) manage its work plan, and (c) identify which organisation will act as Secretariat to the CARIFORUM side of the CC. This is vital for the CC to achieve its 3 main goals which are: (i) to be an advocate; (ii) to provide technical support and advice; and (iii) to increase visibility and awareness, inter alia via the dissemination of information.
In addition, the CC repeated its call for permanent observer status at the Trade and Development Committee (T&DC) in order to guarantee the timely and relevant contribution of the CC to the Joint Council. The CC also highlighted that, given the slow pace of the implementation of the EPA and the marginal benefits achieved to date, the CC therefore requests that it receives the Terms of Reference for the 2020 EPA Review as it is important that this incorporates recommendations from the previous review. The CC also wants to be an active partner in this review as it is of crucial importance to more directly involve civil society organisations to ensure that the benefits of the agreement are realised.
The CC regreted that most CARIFORUM member countries do not yet apply the regional preference clause, which is key for promoting intra-regional trade, regional integration and the development of regional value chains. The CC strongly recommended that this be a focus for resolution in the upcoming review. The CC regrets that some CARIFORUM participants were not able to obtain a Visa to attend the fourth meeting being held in a CARIFORUM member state. This brings to focus the CC call for implementation of the regional preference clause and the mechanisms for temporary entry of Natural persons (Mode 4). 11. The CC appreciated that the ‘octroi de mer’ aims to support local industries in outermost regions (ORs) until 2020 and underlined that that CARIFORUM SIDS share these same features, therefore, this should be taken into account within the EPA implementation framework as regards Other Duties and Charges (ODCs).
With specific regard to youth, the CC emphasised that it wants to facilitate a bridge between civil society organisations from Europe and the CARIFORUM region by creating an online medium to share knowledge and opportunities for capacity building, projects and programmes. We believe this will create more impactful partnerships amongst for example; employers, capital, consumers, youth and trade unions.
Find out more about the CC, its members and access previous declarations here.
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