In October 2008, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, being members of the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Haiti signed the agreement in December 2009, but has not yet applied it, as it still has to be ratified.
The first objective of Article 1 of the Agreement indicated that the EPA is expected to contribute to “the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty through the establishment of a trade partnership consistent with the objective of sustainable development, the Millennium Development Goals and the Cotonou Agreement” but also to promote regional integration, economic cooperation and good governance, and to improve CARIFORUM States' capacity in trade policy and trade-related issues.
In the context of the implementation of this EPA, the ILO Decent Work Team (DWT) for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean based in Trinidad and Tobago put together, with the financial support of the EU, the project “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to Fulfil their EPA Obligations”. It targeted all CARIFORUM countries and was to be implemented between 2015 and 2018. This project is herein after referred to as the “ILO-EU Project”.