Brussels, 18 September 2013
EU to discuss future priorities for development cooperation with the Caribbean
The EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will take part tomorrow in a seminar in Guyana to discuss future development cooperation under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) (which will run from 2014-2020) for the Caribbean region. During the event, which takes place on 19 – 20 September, the Commissioner is expected to confirm that the EU is ready to provide €1 billion under the next EDF in grants for the most vulnerable people in the Caribbean region.
Ahead of the seminar, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "Our renewed commitment demonstrates the need to arrange development cooperation resources to better suit the specific needs of the countries in the region. The new approach, as set out in the Agenda for Change, will target those regions that are still struggling to achieve Millennium Development Goals, helping to ensure that every euro we spend reaches those who need it most."
Haiti, as the only Least Developed Country in the region, will receive more than 40% of these funds to further support its struggle towards reconstruction and the fight against poverty. While progress has been made towards reconstruction of the country after the earthquake in 2010, much still needs to be done. Under the new EDF, on top of the on-going cooperation on food security, urban development and strengthening state administration’s reforms, education will be a new area of support.
During the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs is expected to meet the President of Guyana, His Excellency Donald Ramotar, as well as the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean Forum of the ACP States (CARIFORUM) Ambassador Irwin LaRoque. He will also hold a meeting with civil society organisations and visit an EU funded project that supports sea defences and climate change abatement and mitigation.
Caribbean Region under the 11th EDF
15 Caribbean ACP states (with the exception of The Bahamas) will receive bilateral allocations under the 11th EDF. Additionally all these countries will continue to be eligible to benefit from regional programmes.
The Agenda for Change (the Commission’s blueprint to refocus its aid to prioritise those countries and sectors which need it most) calls for a concentration of resources in the regions and countries more in need and where additional efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals need to be made.
While some countries’ bilateral funding will decrease as a result of orientations given by the Agenda for Change, the EU is proposing to increase significantly the allocations for the Caribbean regional programmes, under which the main areas of the cooperation will be: regional integration and trade, security and climate change and environment.
Over the next seven years, the EU would like to channel more support on the regional level through the recently launched Caribbean Investment Facility, which is a new mechanism for blending loans and grants. Blending can be a key instrument to scale up available resources, catalyse investments and support the private sector. Large scale infrastructure projects (e.g. in the energy sector) can be effective if pursued at a regional level due to a fact that several Caribbean countries have a limited population.
Details of the visit
The main purpose of the visit is to hold a regional programming seminar, in order to discuss for the first time regional and bilateral priorities with partner countries in the region and to get their agreement for the choice of priority sectors for cooperation.
The seminar will be open by the Commissioner, who will address the plenary together with Guyanese President Ramotar and the Secretary General of CARICOM/CARIFORUM, and will afterwards meet all the country delegations to discuss bilateral cooperation priorities for each of them. Also priorities on the regional programme for 2014-2020 will be discussed with relevant authorities of CARICOM/CARIFORUM.
After the seminar the Commissioner will meet representatives of the Caribbean civil society and will pay a visit to one project funded by the EU, the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project. The aim of this project is to build and repair sea defences (such as walls, earth embankments, mangroves and sand reefs), which have long been a priority for EU development operations in the country. Guyanese coast is situated below sea level and thus constantly exposed to sea water flooding. Therefore appropriate sea defences are vital for preserving human settlement and economic activities in the threatened areas.
For more information:
MEMO/13/798: EU relations with the Caribbean
Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs
To find out more about the EU’s work in the Caribbean Region:
To find out more about EuropeAid: