A two-day regional civil society conference hosted by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), was held in Georgetown, Guyana earlier this week.
The conference is an output of the “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process” project. The project, which was signed in December 2015, is being funded under the EU-CARIFORUM 10th Regional Indicative Program with an EU contribution of almost €1.8 million and will be implemented over 34 months in 15 member countries including the Dominican Republic.
Some 40 representatives of various civil society organizations from across the Caribbean attended the conference.
Secretary General of the CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, promised enhanced and expanded collaboration between CARICOM and civil society through new and more innovative ways, such as the establishment of a civil society desk to strengthen engagements with civil society.
Ambassador LaRoque also pointed out that there were many external factors—such as escalating financial and economic crises, climatic events and emerging health concerns like the zika virus—that create vulnerabilities that limit social transformation and development in the Caribbean. He noted that despite a number of global initiatives that seek to address some of these vulnerabilities (such as the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda and sustainable goals), the Caribbean must take its own actions to address these vulnerabilities, such as those outlined in CARICOM’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019.
The conference was held from June 28 – 29 at the Princess Ramada Hotel. It strategically takes place just days before the start of the CARICOM Heads of Government Summit in Georgetown, Guyana.