Caricom and Cariforum Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque urged Cariforum ministers to ensure projects agreed upon address challenges faced by member states, in his speech at the Twenty-first Meeting of the Cariforum Council of Ministers held in Grenada on Thursday.
LaRocque said the meeting was timely as some Cariforum member states are still recovering from the global financial crisis, according to a press statement from the Caricom Secretariat. He noted that most Caricom countries, while facing these challenges, also had seen a decline in concessionary funding due to graduation or differentiation.
The Secretary-General further summarized that due to differentiation now being applied by the European Union (EU), the National Indicative Programmes of many member states had been reduced, even though the Regional Indicative Programme had increased. He said it was therefore important that programming of resources be informed by the Joint Cariforum-EU Strategy. Further, he said that Cariforum should welcome the idea of the introduction of multi-country programming, which would allow two or more member states to have a common programme that would qualify as a regional programme.
“I believe that we must welcome this innovation since it provides the scope for our Member States to secure direct benefits from the Regional Programme. We must, however, ensure that the value of resources to be allocated to multi-country programmes within each priority area is determined by this Council,” he said.
Speaking to priority areas for financing, the Secretary-General said human capacity development within the public and private sectors must be specially considered. According to him, without human capacity, Cariforum as a region could not achieve global competitiveness or build sustainable economies.
The secretary-general further said that by the end of December, the region would have completed, well ahead of other ACP regions, the programming of the entire amount to be allocated under the 10th EDF. He said every effort must be made to draw down the 10th EDF resources in a timely manner so that the region’s implementation record could be improved.