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The OECS's first "Non-State Actors Advisory Panel" formed

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 – The National Authorizing Office of the European Development Fund has established a “ Non-State Actors Advisory Panel.” This is in keeping with the spirit of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement concluded in 2000 between the African, Caribbean and Pacific ACP countries and the European Union.

The Agreement recognizes the complementary role to be played and potential contribution to be made by non-state actors to the development process. Head of the EU delegation for this hemisphere Amos Tincani explained that the “Non-State Advisory Panel,” first created in the OECS will provide a forum for tripartite dialogue, information and consultation on development cooperation between the EU and St. Lucia.

Members of the panel signed an agreement with the European Commission Wednesday May 31st at a ceremony to mark the launch of the initiative.

“This is a tool and so we need to use it and the reply will be in the practice and how we do it; I hope that it will be positive. We have indicated that we want to have a dialogue with the non-state actors panel, essentially on issues pertaining to our cooperation with Saint Lucia, to try to indicate what are the orientations, the policies, the focal areas, their opinion on how we are proceeding or whether we should correct our programme as we go along,” Tincani said.

The Advisory Panel will consist of no more than 13 and no less than eight members, each representing a category or sector including manufacturing and trade, small business, agriculture, tourism, community based organizations, co-operatives, trade union, health and disaster response among several others.

“The idea is for this panel to be so diverse in its representation, it would by its very nature incorporate those types of views that perhaps have not always been reflected in some of the development programmes that we have initiated through EU funding. The idea is to ensure that we have a civil society directly participating in the process of identifying exactly what can and should be done in terms of using EU funds for our developmental efforts,” said newly installed EDF National Authorizing Officer Donavan Williams.

Meantime, the establishment of the panel is being seen as another stage in government's facilitation of participatory and inclusive development.

Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Honourable Ignatius Jean said the power of government and the market require a level of balance that can only be obtained if the people and their representative organizations have power.

“There can be no doubt that as part of our national development approach there has been considerable consultation with non-state actors and this has been manifested in various forms from ad-hoc committees with selected interest groups, through to the establishment of various formal committee structures,” Said Minister Jean.

Member organizations will hold office for a two year term.


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