European Union steps up support for three hurricane-hit Caribbean countries
BRUSSELS – Representatives of the European Union (EU) and the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Lucia yesterday signed agreements in support of the post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction efforts in those Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states. The financing agreements amount to €30 million (US$35 million).
The agreements were signed in Brussels in the margins of the second EU-CELAC Foreign Ministers Meeting, which concluded yesterday.
Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, Stefano Manservisi, signed three new agreements with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and CARICOM Affairs of Dominica Francine Baron, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of St Lucia representing CARIFORUM, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, and with the Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Karen-Mae Hill.
The Caribbean region was severely impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria in autumn 2017. In the case of Dominica, damages and losses were calculated at 226 per cent of GDP. The destruction on the island of Barbuda resulted in the evacuation of the entire population to Antigua.
The €11 million (US$13 million) programme for Dominica will support the implementation of the national recovery plan through budget support. The €5 million (US$5.8 million) programme for Antigua and Barbuda aims to support housing reconstruction for low-income families. And the €14 million (US$16 million) programme with CARIFORUM will support the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) in further enhancing the region’s disaster preparedness and response capacity.
The three programmes are part of a larger package of €74 million (US$86 million) adopted this week. The package will support the Caribbean region to “build-back-better” and promote resilience vis-à-vis future natural hazards.
The package follows from the pledge made by the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, at the CARICOM-UN high level conference in New York in November last year.
Director-General Manservisi also signed the Addendum to the National Indicative Programme for Jamaica following the mid-term review, with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith. The additional €20 million (US$23 million) will target initiatives in the area of citizen security.
Finally, a €15 million (US$17.5 million) disbursement on the sugar programme for Jamaica was agreed. This payment was made in recognition of the progress made by the Jamaican Government in the transformation of the sugar industry over the past 10 years. Jamaica’s sugar sector has transformed to become more competitive, increasing productivity and environmental sustainability, whilst supporting young people and social challenges in sugar-dependent areas, the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM said.