Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM)
WHAT IS CARIFORUM?
The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) is a grouping of Caribbean States which are signatories to the Lomé IV Convention. The Lomé Convention is an international aid and trade agreement between the ACP States and the European Union.
CARIFORUM comprises sixteen (16) States which are full members, namely:
Antigua & Barbuda
St. Christopher & Nevis
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago
Cuba is a Member State of CARIFORUM but is not a signatory to the EU/ACP Cooperation Agreement and does not benefit directly from regional resources under Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes financed by the European Development Fund (EDF).
The British and Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories are Observers to CARIFORUM.
Co-ordination of the allocation and monitoring of available EDF resources for the purpose of financing regional projects in the Caribbean Region, which fall within the framework of the Lomé IV Convention.
The CARIFORUM was established on 19 October 1992. During the preceding Lomé Convention, the function of co-ordination and monitoring of regional projects was carried out by the CARICOM Secretariat. However, for Lomé IV, two new ACP Caribbean States joined the Convention: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As neither of these countries are members of CARICOM, there was the need to create a new forum of consultancy for the purpose of regional co-operation. In this regard, the European Commission (EC) and the Caribbean ACP States jointly agreed that the programming of the Caribbean regional resources under the 7th EDF under the Lomé IV Convention would be managed by the CARIFORUM.
ROLE AND FUNCTION
The Rules of Procedure of CARIFORUM were formally adopted at the Ministerial Meeting held in October 1992, in Trinidad and Tobago.
All decisions of the Forum are made by consensus. The Rules of Procedures also specify that the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) shall be invited to Ministerial Meetings of the CARIFORUM as observers.
The responsibilities of the CARIFORUM are specified in the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP) and comprise the following:
· Decisions on the overall management of the Regional Programme on the Caribbean side, and for the setting of the thematic and policy framework for Caribbean regional co-operation under the Lomé Convention.
· Identification of proposals made by Caribbean ACP States, neighbouring countries and regional organisations, which will be proposed to the EC within the Regional Co-operation.
· Proposing to the EC modifications to the Regional Indicative Programme in light of experience and with a view to expediting the programming of resources for regional projects.
· Designate, in agreement with the EC, the Regional Authorising Officer for projects and programmes.
The Council of Ministers:
The Council of Ministers is the highest decision-making body of the CARIFORUM and meets at least once a year.
Each Member State is represented at CARIFORUM Meetings by the representative duly designated by the Member State. Where that representative is the Chairperson or acting Chairperson of the Meeting, that Member State may be represented by another member of its delegation duly authorised by the designated representative. Most of the Member States are represented by their Minister of Foreign Affairs, accompanied by one or more advisers, at the Ministerial Meetings.
The Chairperson of each Meeting of the Caribbean Forum shall be elected from among the representatives of the Member Countries in the alphabetical order of the names of those States, and the Chairperson shall hold office as Chairperson of the Forum until the election of another Chairperson at the next meeting of the Forum.
The CARIFORUM Secretariat:
The Secretariat of the CARIFORUM comprises a Secretary-General (SG) and a Programming Unit (PU). The role of the Secretariat is specified within the CRIP as follows:
· Advising the Forum on preparation of request for financing of studies for determining project design and scope.
· Making arrangements for expediting the definition of regional projects.
· Identifying appropriate arrangements for project execution and reporting.
· Maintaining close contact with the representatives of the EC with a view to advancing the formulation, approval, implementation and follow-up of projects.
· Advising the Forum on modifications required to expedite decision-making.
The SG, assisted by the Programming Unit, is in general responsible for the overall management of the CRIP and serves as a channel of official communication between the Forum and the EC on matters relating to the CRIP, including matters affecting its development and implementation. The SG of the CARIFORUM, who is at the same time the SG of CARICOM, serves as Regional Authorising Officer (RAO) for regional projects financed by the EDF. In this regard the SG signs the Financial Agreements of the Regional Programmes on behalf of the Caribbean ACP States. The SG is further responsible for progress reporting on the programming, monitoring and management of the Regional Programme for the Forum.
The Programming Unit:
The Programming Unit (PU) works under the direction of the SG and commenced operations in February 1993, with its office located in Georgetown, Guyana.
The general objective of the PU is to accelerate and improve preparation and implementation of Lomé IV projects/programmes at the regional level. It also facilitates joint management of regional projects/programmes among the sixteen ACP Caribbean States and widening of the geographical scope of regional co-operation to neighbouring countries (OCTs and DOMs), and the non-ACP States of the Caribbean Basin.
The specific purpose of the PU is to assist the SG in preparing terms of reference, studies and financing proposals of regional programmes, provide technical assistance for the identification of appropriate procedures for project implementation, prepare documentation and appraise projects/programmes, and maintain close contact with the representatives of the EC during the process.
Under the instructions of the SG, the PU co-operates on a functional basis with national governments and implementing regional organisations to ensure effective execution of projects and management of the project cycle.
The PU operates according to annual work programmes and budgets jointly approved by the SG and the EC. The PU also benefits from functional linkages with and administrative support from the CARICOM Secretariat.