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Monday, 06 September 2010

EU funding for civil society in the Caribbean

Barbados’ civil society groups are among several in the Caribbean that stand to benefit from $10.1 million in funding from Europe to help confront social development issues. The money is part of more than $416 million the region is getting from the Europeans as part of the 10th European Development Fund Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme, said First Counsellor of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Robert Baldwin. But the EU spokesman is cautioning that as these organisations here and elsewhere in the Caribbean seek to implement programmes to benefit from the funding, and exploit the Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed almost two years ago in Barbados, it was important not to be over ambitious. Baldwin was speaking yesterday at the opening of a historic meeting of the Non-State Actors held at Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church. It is the very first time that civil society organisations from across the Caribbean are meeting to frame a proposal for submission to access the European Development Fund. The official noted that one of the innovations of the Cotonou Agreement which governs EU/African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) relations was the increased emphasis on the role of civil society, specifically to give these non-state actors “a voice and also to fully involve it in EU-ACP cooperation”.“The countries of the Caribbean have taken this to heart by allocating funds in several of their national programmes under the European Development Fund to assist local non-state actors participation in NSA panels, which bring NGOs, the church, the private sector and labour organisations together and provide a conduit for their involvement in local development with their respective governments and also the EU Delegations in the region,” he said.

Source: Barbados Today