What is the CCWG?
The Caribbean (Civil Society) Consultative Working Group (CCWG) is a consortium of NGOs from across the Caribbean region, tasked with the responsibility of discussing priority areas for the development and sustainable livelihoods of Caribbean people.
The CCWG addresses a common criticism of a lack of unity and coherence in civil society positions. The idea of the CCWG was therefore advanced as a mechanism/network of organisations to build consensus; bring a representative voice on development issues; and strengthen networks. This approach can help to influence the development of policy and engage in public policy advocacy.
CCWG History and Composition
A pilot phase of the CCWG was implemented between 2014-2016 with support from the Commonwealth Foundation. Under the European Union funded project “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process” a comprehensive review of the CCWG was commissioned and the report recommendations were accepted.
The CCWG has since been updated and expanded to include fourteen (14) CSOs from across the CARIFORUM region, operating at both a national and regional level. CPDC functions as the lead organisation and implementing agency. Organisations become CCWG members, if on submission of an expression of interest to a valid call for expression, and an evaluation committee finds that they meet the following minimum criteria:
- Legal character;
- Programme areas of relevance to CCWG priorities;
- Experience in policy advocacy and/or research;
- Experience in social/community mobilization; and
- A thorough understanding of development issues as it relates to the Caribbean.
During a September 2017 General Assembly, CCWG members agreed to the formation of a Steering Committee and a Technical Working Group. The Steering Committee is responsible for providing governance oversight on behalf of the participating member organisations of the CCWG. They are also charged with selecting persons who form part of their membership to serve on the Technical Working Group (TWG). The main aim of the TWG is to assist with strategic inquiry of relevant political and public policy environment and present strategic options to the Steering Committee. As Chair of the Steering Committee, CPDC provided guidance on the CCWG mechanism process as required, and to monitor participation and performance of the member organizations.
Goal and Objectives of the CCWG
The CCWG is the consultative mechanism that provides NGOs and CSOs with an opportunity to have input into the regional policy making process and to influence regional policy dialogue.
The Goal of the CCWG is:
To influence regional integration and the development of policy making by establishing a Civil Society policy advocacy coordination process.
The key Objectives are:
- To deepen and strengthen the voice of the civil society sector in the region on key policy issues;
- To increase collaboration within the civil society sector; and
- To enhance advocacy at the regional and international levels.
CCWG Core Actions
The CCWG undertook research and dialogue to identify policy solutions to the region’s development challenges, with a view of charting a path to those solutions through policy papers and policy advocacy.
Key activities are:
- Policy Advocacy;
- Social Mobilisation;
- Policy Coordination; and
Thematic Areas of Focus
The CCWG is primarily thematic-based and focused on working collectively on key policy issues for an agreed period of time.
The key thematic areas for 2017-2018 were:
- Youth Development
- Participatory Governance
- Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation
- The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Developing youth is a responsibility shared by all groups within society. The CCWG sought to mobilise youth and other stakeholders to advocate for greater youth employment and livelihood opportunities, and to promote their involvement in decision making processes. Ultimately, it is important to ensure that youth have the capacity to: pursue their goals, understand the challenges and realities which confront them, and advocate for the conditions necessary for them to thrive.
The CCWG members also include youth-led organisations. Therefore, as the CCWG identifies ways to develop youth, it is at the same time engaging in youth development by including them in the policy advocacy and problem-solving processes.
The work of the CCWG underscores the very notion of participatory governance by encouraging civil society participation, including the vulnerable and providing a forum to voice concerns, collaborate and outline solutions to development challenges. Participatory governance also allows for advocacy. One of the tasks of the CCWG in this context will be drafting and advocating a policy which promotes the legislation for institutionalization of civil society engagement at the national and regional level.
CARIFORUM members signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union in 2008. The EU is CARIFORUM’s second largest trading partner, after the United States of America. The mandate of the CCWG includes working with civil society to identify options for addressing bottlenecks in EPA implementation and scaling up impact. In essence, the working group will be used to monitor and report on the progress of the EPA implementation. The CCWG will work with CPDC – the Secretariat of the EPA Civil Society Consultative Committee to ascertain and assess progress and provide recommendations as necessary.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action to be implemented through a collaborative partnership among all countries and stakeholders. The action speaks strategically to: eradicating poverty and hunger holistically; protecting the environment through sustainable means of production and consumption; providing humanity with the ability to afford prosperous and fulfilling lives; and enabling societies that are free and fair and that are free from fear.
The SDGs directly respond to Caribbean realities and vulnerabilities. The development goals can only be attained through partnership. The CCWG introduces a regional civil society collaboration to address the SDGs through exploring how targets can be met and sustained.
How Organisations Benefit from the CCWG
- Enhanced knowledge on thematic areas of the CCWG;
- Greater engagement of the civil society sector via in-country and online consultations;
- Increased profile due to member organizations being involved in a regional network;
- Opportunities to build and strengthen alliances across the CARIFORUM region; and
- Opportunities for training and organisational development.
Antigua & Barbuda
Civil Society Bahamas
Ichirouganaim Council for the Advancement of Rastafari
Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM)
Dominica National Council of Women
Inter-Agency Group of Development Organisations (IAGDO)
Women Across Differences (WAD)
Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers (JNRWP)
The Ripple Institute
St. Kitts and Nevis
Sacred Sports Foundation Inc.
Windward Islands Farmers Association
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting
Trinidad and Tobago
CCWG (2014 – 2016)
Over the period 2014 – 2016, the CCWG engaged various spaces through a number of actions.
To establish a more comprehensive, cohesive and complementary approach to development by promoting renewable energy programmes – wind, solar, water etc. as well as, energy conservation, efficiency and security.
- During the period (May – June 2016), seven (7) National Policy Dialogues across 7 countries were convened. These consultations were used to aid in the development of a regional policy paper as a main lobbying tool, and input into a proposal for a Caribbean Sustainable Energy Strategy.
- Based on numerous consultations with the CCWG, a Policy Advocacy Paper on Sustainable Energy was compiled by Advocacy School and disseminated regionally to Caribbean Governments and other relevant Ministries, NGOs and CARICOM.
- Meeting Reports
- National Policy Dialogues on Sustainable Energy
- Policy Papers
- Caribbean Sustainable Energy Strategy Policy Proposal
- CCWG Playlist
- Policy Advocacy and Research Training
- Barbados National Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Energy
CCWG (2017 – 2018)
During this period, the CCWG carried out research and advocacy around Civil Society Participation in the SDGS.
CCWG and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
On September 25th 2015, countries across the globe adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new Sustainable Development Agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. It was understood that for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector and civil society.
The bigger goal of the CCWG is to provide its members with the resources and information needed to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since its inception, the region has been working assiduously to achieve the SDGs set for the 2030 Agenda. Recognizing that the SDGs directly respond to Caribbean realities and vulnerabilities and that development goals can only be attained through partnership, the CCWG introduces a regional civil society collaboration for addressing the SDGs through exploring how targets can be met and sustained.