BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2011, The Netherlands



The Association of Students of African Heritage (ASAH) cordially invites you to the fourth edition of Black History Month on 18th and 25th February 2011.

Theme: “The Economics of Culture – the way we dress, eat and express ourselves from an economic perspective”

 
Many African and Afro-Caribbean countries are endowed with resources that could stimulate economic stability and independence. However, many of those are plight by economic inefficiencies coupled with a constant dependence on global resources. For example, “one may see a black woman elegantly clothed with traditional attire. But her cloth may be from Vlisco (the Dutch manufacturer of African prints), shoes/slippers from Italy and earrings/jewelleries from Thailand. Instead of local manufactures many prefer Hollywood movies over Nollywood/Ghallywood/Black films or even opt for Indian Basmati or American Uncle Sam rice instead of locally cultivated rice etc”.

Considering the trends of commerce, “to what extent are we (Blacks) economically independent when we portray the African/(Afro-) culture”?


***Day 1: Friday February 18th – Culture and Entrepreneurship

The first day of BHM 2011 focuses on culture and the similarities between Blacks from the Diaspora and the African continent. It also provides an opportunity to explore the economic aspect of culture. Furthermore, day 1 serves as a window to showcase and promote Afro-businesses, as well as a means to network.

The day is set up as follows:

*Through the conceptualization of culture and what constitutes the African/(Afro-) culture, a “Black Cultural Expert”, Mrs. Natasha A. Kelly from Berlin, will enlighten us with reference to the theme. The expert will talk about various developments in the Black culture over the years. She will give an extended view on "The Dynamics of Afro-Culture. Politics, Economics and Esthetics of Blackness in Europe".

*Fashion show: Traditional clothing from the African continent and the Diaspora will be displayed. Two different kinds of clothing from the following areas is to be modelled:
-West Africa
-East Africa
-Southern Africa
-Former Netherlands Antilles
-Suriname

During the fashion show, information will be provided about the attires, their origins, designer etc.

*Entrepreneurs: After the fashion show, Mrs. Lori van Echtelt of Mariposa Import, will share her views on “Black consumerism and entrepreneurship”.

*Cultural treats/snacks: There will be cultural snacks to enjoy. Information will be provided about the ingredients used, its origin, the caterers and/or where to buy them.

*There will also be a spoken word performance by T. Martinus. The day ends with a musical performance!

When: Friday, 18th February 2011
Venue: Afro Cultureel Centrum Samen Sterk,
Address: Zieken 103, 2515 SB Den Haag
A 3 minute walk from train station The Hague HS
Parking is available, free parking from 17:00
Website: http://www.samensterkdenhaag.nl/
Doors open: at 17.30
The programme starts: at 18:00
Entrance: Free
Language: English and Dutch
Pre-Registration is appreciated, please sent a mail to info@asah-eur.nl


***Day 2: Friday February 25th – Presentation and workshop entrepreneurship

The second day of BHM 2011 consists of a workshop and an interactive presentation at the Erasmus University.

*Workshop: To encourage the youth and BHM participants of African heritage to take initiative to become entrepreneurs, Ms. W. Gillis-Burleson – managing director of Legato B.V. and the best Black Business Woman 1997 – will give a workshop on empowerment and entrepreneurship. This workshop aims to equip participants with some fundamental knowledge, tools and skills essential for business for starters.

*Presentation: Mr. T. Kofi – Director of the Foundation Africa Next Door – will talk about the consumption trends of Black people and its consequences. Mr. Kofi will show the correlation between the African continent and Black communities worldwide. Participants or the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions or share their opinion. Amongst others, there will be a debate/discussion on “Does our culture inhibit us to enterprise?” during the discussion round.

When: Friday, 25th February 2011
Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam,
C-Building, Room CB-109
Doors open: at 16.30
The programme starts: at 17:00
Entrance: Free
Language: English and Dutch
Pre-Registration is appreciated, please sent a mail to info@asah-eur.nl

We, ASAH, look forward to celebrate Black History Month 2011 with you!
For further info: visit www.asah-eur.nl

Black History Month 2011 is presented in collaboration with
NiNsee (Nationaal instituut Nederlands slavernijverleden en erfenis) see: http://www.ninsee.nl/

Lawyer cautions against ratifying EU trade treaty


(Joyce van Genderen-Naar)

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BRUSSELS–Joyce van Genderen-Naar, a Brussels based lawyer who is very much at home in European Union (EU) matters is cautioning Caribbean nations against ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the Cariforum countries.
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“Ratifying this agreement will be disastrous to our countries, as it will open our doors to more imports from the EU … yes, our exports will have 100% access to European markets, but we don’t have the means to,” warned Suriname-born Van Genderen-Naar who in her capacity as lawyer acts as advisor to Caribbean organizations in EU matters.
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The CARIFORUM-EU EPA, signed in October 2008, is a trade and development agreement which covers not only trade in goods, but also services, investment, social and labor standards, competition policy and transparency in government procurement. It is the first (and, to date, only) comprehensive regional EPA in any ACP (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) region. The agreement was signed on 15 October 2008 and provisionally applied as of 29 December 2008. It provides for the gradual and asymmetric liberalization of trade in goods, services and investment between the Caribbean signatories and the EU with the objective of fostering the sustainable development of the Caribbean region.
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Van Genderen-Naar said countries like Suriname should place their best judicial staff on this agreement before actually tabling it in Parliament for ratification. “These are very complex matters that even I as a lawyer who deals with them daily, have trouble understanding. But they should not be taken lightly, because if we’re not careful, products in our countries will become more expensive and people will suffer.”
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She explained that under the EU regime, Caribbean countries will no longer be allowed to levy customs duties for imports from the EU. “And customs duties are a substantial source of income for Caribbean countries like Suriname,” she said.
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Meanwhile, she continued, EU countries place high demands on goods that may be imported into their markets. “They have all sorts of rules and standards that you can only apply to, if you have the latest techniques and most modern equipment; we don’t have those techniques and equipments, so we will not be able to comply, which means that our exports will diminish. So while we earn less from customs duties, we also have less income from exports. . If we sign this agreement we will basically allow the EU at our bread and butter,” she said.
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The lawyer hinted that this is no different from the track records European Countries have left over the past 500 years. “In their eyes we are still no more than territories there for their profit,” she said.
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She said Suriname has enough other opportunities for its exports. “There are enough other countries and regions that want to do business with us. If we don’t ratify this agreement, the only thing that could harm is our banana export. But not our bauxite exports to Norway (Norway is not a member of the EU) or our oil exports. It cannot hurt our tourism industry. On the other hand, China is showing a lot of interest in Suriname, as is Brazil,” she said, emphasizing: “Suriname already has a tough time entering the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) with its exports. Imagine how much tougher the EU will make it for us if we open our markets to them like this. We’re not at equal playing level, so we should think this through properly.”
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Total EU trade with the Caribbean region amounts to more than €8.5 billion per year. EU exports to the Caribbean include chemicals and machinery and transport equipment. Caribbean exports to the EU include agricultural products, fuels and chemicals. The CARIFORUM region includes 15 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Haiti signed the Agreement on 10 December 2009.

Who is Rhoda Wilson? – Inspiring you to aspire to Life

“If the future road looks ominous or unpromising, and
the roads back uninviting, then we need to
gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage,
step off that road in a new direction”
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- Maya Angelou (2002)

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Rhoda Wilson was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a family steeped in tradition and achievement. Her father was a strict man whose focus for his daughter was education, success and religious obedience. Her father expected high results from Rhoda and wanted nothing less than exceptional goals in all areas of her life.

One thing that Rhoda will never forgot was her father telling her that women would change the world and that her career was more important than a man’s career, she used this idea to motivate herself throughout her career.

Rhoda was sent to England at 17 to attend one of the top boarding schools in the country, Hurtwood House, after hermother died when she was 13. Towards the end of her time at college Rhoda wanted to attend an Ivy League university in the USA so she took the SAT. She passed however, her father’s focus had changed; having re-married, so she remained in the UK to complete her university studies.

Rhoda worked for a number of firms and was at the top of her career in a highly esteemed organization when her position was made redundant. Her confidence took a hit but she had a great circle of friends and was organizing summer balls for charities such as Marie Curie Cancer Care, in memory of her mother who had died from cancer whilst she looked for another job. She eventually found a new role however 11 months into the job, her position was made redundant again.

Rhoda knew that she had to change direction in her life. It was at this point in her life that she decided to embark on one of her pastimes as a music promoter.. She hosted the first concert at the Shepherds Bush Empire which was a huge success. Rhoda found herself working alone most of the time because she wanted to keep costs down doing everything from technical support to contracts and PR.

The success of the first concert gave Rhoda a lot of confidence but the next few concerts did not do as well. She was at her lowest but she refused to give up. Uncertain of which road to take or how to get there Rhoda Wilson knew deep down that she wanted to make a difference and this is what kept her going. One day whilst at a meeting with a businessman, regarding the sponsorship of a new concert, he was to give Rhoda valuable advice to see herself as a brand. He told Rhoda that she could make more of a difference on the small screen.
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This meeting motivated Rhoda to explore this idea but she did not account for the huge costs that were attached to broadcasting a show on a non-mainstream channel. Initially she remained positive, however by the end of her first year in developing her programme plan she soon realized that finding sponsorship was almost impossible particularly in the Afro-Caribbean community. She invested what she could in the show and borrowed £675.00 from a friend on making the first production of The Rhoda Wilson Show, which was broadcast on the 4th of December 2005 on OBE TV. She could not afford a director or producer so she learnt everything from the pre-development, to production and post production. She was joyous and thought that that would be the start of something great because she had something to show advertisers and sponsors to believe in the show.
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However by December 2006 things were not looking good for Rhoda. There were no sponsors, no advertisers but she continued to make progress mentally and kept her show on OBE TV going as often as she could. In the meantime, she was putting pen to paper and writing and calling any TV stations, and separately emailing companies for sponsorship. Her confidence took another dip, no work, no sponsors and no advertisers.. One day in 2007 with the help of a former boss Rhoda found work and used the money she earned to invest in her show again.

Rhoda’s travels to the UAE, Italy and France gave her some time to really evaluate her business, allowing her to formulate a plan of where she wanted to be and how to get there. Rhoda drew a lot of guidance from inspirational books and exercising her faith. She never stopped believing in herself and to remind herself that real success takes years.. She no longer believes that you can do everything yourself regardless of costs. If you want to be successful you need to be able to ask for help and she found a great public relations lady, Ronke Lawal who she feels is the best thing that ever happened to her since her business started. She promotes my show, researches sponsorship avenues and has a group called the Rhoda Wilson Experience on Facebook to keep in touch with her fan base.

By getting the right help through asking Rhoda Wilson is definitely reaching new heights. People have started to label her the “British Oprah Winfrey”, and though this is flattering Rhoda wants to create her own unique and individual brand. She had a genuine passion for her show and for her production company. The Rhoda Wilson show is now on air on SKY Channel 184 - BEN TV with audience of around 1,300,000. Rhoda is currently working on more series and is now getting interest from other networks who have expressed an interest in commissioning the show. Rhoda was recently contacted by an American Channel who is looking to acquire the contents of The Rhoda Wilson Show. Rhoda is also working on a number of documentaries and short films for festivals around the world. Her women’s Charity ACWAL is also doing well and looking forward to successfully make this continue. Rhoda would like her production company to produce amazing life changing productions, touching people profoundly either by watching the show or working with her. With so much to look forward to in the future Rhoda Wilson is set to achieve great things.

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The Rhoda Wilson Show continues to be an international
digital talk show success.
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Confident, sultry and attractive; words used to describe the popular television presenter Rhoda Wilson. Rhoda Wilson was born in Nigeria and led an eclectic, international upbringing, undertaking her education at the prestigious Hurtwood House Boarding school in Dorking, England. With her solid educational background Rhoda Wilson went on to lead a successful career in the financial and energy sectors. Her experience in some of the world’s most prestigious firms has given Rhoda a strong skill-set with an ability to manage teams and develop successful strategies. With this skill set Rhoda has been able to speak at major events as well as offering mentoring to individuals who aspire to be the best. However her creativity and accomplishments did not stop there. In 2003 Rhoda founded Cosmo Music which successfully showcased World Music across the UK. This clearly illustrates Ms Wilson’s strong business acumen but this wasn’t enough for the ambitious self-made success who wanted to take her passion for the media to the next level.

The Rhoda Wilson show started in 2005 on OBE TV and has gained critical acclaim across the digital television ever since. Recently moving to BEN TV (Sky Channel 184) the show, aired weekly, currently has a viewership of circa 1,300,000 per show. With a wide mix of subject matter, Rhoda selects her guests with the central theme of Inspiration at the helm. The 30 minute show consists of interviews based on the lives of inspirational and growing talent across the UK.
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A serial networker and social advocate; Rhoda is clear about her goals for this show- “I believe I can make a difference because there is a need in the market and I have incredible passion and I am committed to making this happen.” (Rhoda Wilson). This passion is reflected by her founding the African and Caribbean Women’s Achievement and Leadership Foundation in 2007, another example of the formidable nature of Rhoda’s talents. With 2009 set to be an exciting year in the world of Ms Wilson get ready to see more success from this phenomenal woman on “The Rhoda Wilson Show”.

For More information
Contact Ronke Lawal
Telephone 07984 141 169
Email: publicrelations@rhodawilson.com

Global Arts Media Initiative for Women of African Descent

As always, we need your love and support. It only takes 30 seconds to vote Live Unchained…

We are in a competition to win support to develop our initiative as a non-profit organization. We’ve already developed a business plan, preliminary board of directors and short and long-term goals. We are ready to take our project to the next level and do justice to a project of this scope and importance. So, this competition is right on time.

Please vote for Live Unchained here: http://we.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Global-Arts-Media-Initiative-for-Women-of-African-Descent/101969-12001

You simply need to register (don’t worry you won’t receive a ton of annoying e-mails) and then click “I Agree” next to our project. You have to maker sure you click “I Agree”–some people simply clicked “Like” thinking they voted, but if you don’t see your name, the vote didn’t count.

Also, please leave comments explaining why you support Live Unchained. We appreciate everything we’ve seen so far =)

Come April, we’ll all be winners. Now, it’s time to show up, show out and shut it down! Please take 30 seconds to vote Live Unchained now.

The CF EC EPA, where we stand after two years


(Joyce van Genderen-Naar)
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This brief update has been written to discuss the current state of affairs regarding the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM (CF)States and the EU, referred to as CF EC EPA. It aims to address the following questions: What has been done thus far and how can both EU and CF representatives demonstrate a stronger commitment to providing public access to information concerning EPA-related developments?

As will be shown, these questions emanate from a recognition of the fact that stakeholders in the Caribbean and the EU, among others, have to be informed about the decisions of the Joint CF EC EPA Institutions. Not providing this information creates a degree of uncertainty that poses an obstacle to not only the functioning of economic actors within the Caribbean region and the EU alike, but to regional economic development writ large.
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The CF EC EPA, concluded in December 2007 and signed in October 2008, has been provisionally applied since 29 December 2008. The Agreement is yet to have entered into official force and effect because neither all EU nor all CARIFORUM member states have completed the procedures of ratification and notification as required by article 243 of CF EC EPA. Assuming some states have completed this process, it is not known, or at least it has not been made public, how many CARIFORUM and EU Member States have in fact done this.
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The above is not to suggest that there has been no progress since the signing of the CF EC EPA two years ago. Indeed, there has been some movement. Notable undertakings include the following: 1) The adoption of rules and procedures that will operationalize the Joint CF EC EPA institutions, and; 2) Some CARIFORUM States have established EPA Implementations Units (Note: The European Commission in Brussels has no EPA Implementation Unit, however, there is a Unit in DG Trade that is responsible for the Caribbean. See website: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/acp/index_en.htm).
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Only the first of these two measures will be further discussed below.
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Progress on the Joint CF-EC EPA Institutions
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The establishment and powers of the joint CF EC EPA institutions are articulated in articles 227-232 of the CF EC Economic Partnership Agreement. Of them, the key institutions are: the Joint CARIFORUM-EC Council; the CARIFORUM-EC Trade and Development Committee; the Joint Parliamentary Committee; and the CF EC Consultative Committee. They will operate jointly and at the same time represent the respective interests of CARIFORUM and EU stakeholders.
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The Joint CARIFORUM-EC EPA Council had its inaugural meeting on 17 May 2010 in Madrid. It was at this meeting that representatives of the EU and the CARIFORUM States adopted the Rules and Procedures for the Joint Council, the CARIFORUM-EC Trade and Development Committee, the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation and other Special Committees. Also adopted were the rules of procedure for dispute settlement, and a code of conduct for EPA arbitrators and mediators. Among these rules, it was also decided that the official and working languages of CF-EC EPA institutions would be English, Spanish, French and Dutch. All of these decisions are published in the Official Journal of the European Union L 247/66 on 21 September 2010.
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Even with the above information, it is still hard to say who the CARIFORUM and EU representatives are that will serve in the joint institutions. This is because not all nominations have been completed, and not all of the participants in the meetings are known. What we do know, however, is that the CF EC Joint Council and CF EC Trade and Development Committee will be composed of representatives of CARIFORUM, EU Council and European Commission (DG Trade and DG Development).
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The EPA Experience: Accounting for the Public Information Deficit
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A reading of the above discussion on the progress of the EPA makes it clear that a problem exists regarding access to information (or the lack thereof) regarding the ongoings of the EPA. What accounts for why information is so scare and difficult to access? The most important reasons for this most likely include; 1) the complexity of the CF EC EPA and its institutions; 2) the many Parties involved (15 CARIFORUM States, 27 EU Member States and the European Commission); 3) the fact that EPA-related meetings are not public unless, pursuant to the rules and procedures, it is expressly stated that a meeting will be made so, and; 4) These same rules and procedures explicitly note that EU and CARIFORUM member states can use their own discretion on whether to officially publish the decisions and recommendations made in these meetings.
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Unlike the most of the other CF-EC EPA institutions, it is expected that the meetings of the joint CF EC EPA Parliamentary Committee and CF EC EPA Consultative Committee will be more open and public. Be that as it may, up to now there has not been much publicity about the set up of these committees.
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Surprisingly, as difficult as it has been for members of the general public to access information on the official progression of the EPA, more problematic still is the impression that communication between the EU and CF also seems to be a problem: A frequently asked question in Brussels is, “What is happening in the Caribbean and who could give us some information about the progress on the Caribbean side?”
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So what are EU and CARIFORUM officials saying explains the general lack of public information? An insider in Brussels maintains that it has nothing to do with mystery and secrecy, but with the fact that the CF EC EPA has not been implemented yet in the CARIFORUM states. Not everyone agrees with that explanation, however. During a recent interview with Branford Isaacs, Head of CARICOM’s EPA Implementation Unit and Specialist in Trade in Goods, and Ms Allyson Francis, the Unit’s Trade in Services and Investment Specialist, Mr. Isaacs responded directly to this answer offered above concerning the lack of public information. He stated the following: “We are aware that some of the feedback we sometimes hear from Brussels is that CARIFORUM states are not really focused on implementation. We can’t speak for Brussels, but we do not recognise that at all”. (Trade Negotiations Insights, Volume 9, Number 10, December 2010 http://ictsd.org/i/news/tni/97942/)
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Further, in another interview in Trade Negotiations Insights Volume 9, Number 8, October 2010, http://ictsd.org/i/news/tni/87787/, H.E. Errol Humphrey, Head of the EPA Implementation Unit in Barbados, gave an indication that the lack of access to information concerning the EPA is inextricably linked to the larger issues concerning the lack of progress on the implementation of the Agreement. In the interview, he explained that,
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“The implementation challenges are twofold: First, making the necessary funding and other resources available, notably in a context marked by the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, and secondly, educating the stakeholders on the provisions of the Agreement. With regard to resources and funding, the crisis has rendered the mobilisation of resources difficult. Secondly, because stakeholders are less knowledgeable about the EPA than was expected, more time than anticipated has to be spent informing both the public and private sectors about the obligations and opportunities associated with the Agreement.

The Barbados Private Sector Trade Team has been doing its part with its limited resources, but the private sector is of the view that the responsibility for educating the public should be on the government. In this regard, in order to inform stakeholders, we have decided to produce a series of small booklets on trade in goods, investment, entertainment and cultural services, professional services, tourism, etc. to make it easier for relevant stakeholders to have an idea of what is in the agreement without having to read the entire text. We are also trying to be proactive in terms of sensitisation sessions with agencies, industry associations etc. and we should be making better use of the media.“
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Generally speaking, both interviews contain very useful and insightful information about the EPA implementation process and its constraints in the CARIFORUM States.
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Offering A Solution and Looking Ahead to 2011
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Given all of the above, we are left with the question, how can access to information on the CF CE EPA be improved? Although there are several approaches that can and should be taken to address this issue, for the purposes of enhancing CF-EC EPA-related access to information, communication and dialogue, an essential avenue that should be explored is the establishment of a CF EC EPA website. On such a site all EPA documents, briefs and updates could be provided, while also offering a space where individuals could post both questions and comments.
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Finally, what can be looked forward to in 2011? Among other things to look out for, there will be a meeting of the CARIFORUM-EC Trade and Development Committee in March 2011, as well as meetings of the EU side of the CF EC EPA Consultative Committee in Brussels and the region. In the Caribbean, we can also expect that CARIFORUM officials will continue to organize and orient themselves with respect to the Agreement. With all of this though, it is still unclear as to whether we can expect either, a change in the speed with which the EPA is being implemented, or an increase in the accessibility of official information concerning the CF-EC EPA process. Of course, only time will tell. However, time has never spoken louder than the voices of concerned citizens.
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Joyce van Genderen-Naar
Brussels based lawyer
Legal Advisor ACP Civil Society Forum http://www.acpcsforum.igloocommunities.com/

Advisor MDG Global Watch
Email: vangenderen@unicall.be