Belize hosts CARIFORUM ministerial meeting

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Belize will host the seventeenth meeting of ministers of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) on 26 November in which matters pertaining to its relations with the European Union and issues within the CARIFORUM framework will be in focus.

The CARIFORUM ministerial meeting will be convened in Belize City to review the status of the Caribbean Integration Support Programme (CISP), which was implemented through a contribution agreement between the European Commission and CARIFORUM, giving effect to the Ninth European Development Fund (9th EDF).

Programmes under the 9th EDF supported external trade negotiations carried out by CARIFORUM countries and a range of measures towards the implementation the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) among other things. With the 9th EDF programmes concluding shortly, the ministers will consider the areas which will benefit from the resources of the upcoming 10th EDF.

They will also attempt to rationalise several measures that will build the region’s capacity to participate in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed between CARIFORUM and the EU in October 2008.

These measures include a standby facility and a CARIFORUM Infrastructure Trust Fund. The standby facility supports the implementation of the EPA as well as CARICOM Trade and Integration within the CSME, while the CARIFORUM Infrastructure Trust Fund addresses interconnection issues related to air and sea transport, energy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and communication infrastructure.

Among the other matters the ministers will consider are: a proposal for a successor to the Rum Industry Support Programme; the organisation of CARIFORUM and matters relating to the CARIFORUM-EU Joint Strategy.

A follow-up discussion on the Sixth Summit of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean (EULAC) held in May 2010, in Madrid, Spain, also forms part of the agenda of the Meeting in Belize later this week. An officials meeting from November 24-25 will precede the ministerial meeting.

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