Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, located in the hurricane belt and frequently suffering severe atmospheric impacts. Cuba has been a member of the ACP group since 2000, despite not being a signatory of the Cotonou Agreement. The country is nowadays immersed in a process of reforms, as outlined in the Lineamientos, the Cuban government's guidelines of economic and social policy. On 29 April 2014, Cuba and the EU launched negotiations on a bilateral agreement on political dialogue and cooperation. This negotiation represents an important step towards a strengthened relationship and would encompass the full scope of relations between the EU and Cuba: political dialogue, cooperation, economic relations and trade.
EU cooperation with Cuba is covered by the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Development cooperation resumed in 2008, and since then until 2014, the European Commission committed around € 90 million in the fields of food security; hurricane response and disaster preparedness; environment; climate change and energy; culture and heritage; support to economic and social modernization and management capacities.
A further € 50 million have been allocated for the period 2014-2020 to support the development of the country on three sectors: sustainable agriculture and food security (€ 21 million); environment: support for a better use of key natural resources for sustainable development (€ 18 million); support to sustainable economic and social modernisation (€ 10 million) -and support measures (€ 1 million). The selected sectors respond to the national priorities identified in the "Cuban Guidelines for economic and social policy" (Lineamientos) – a mid-term strategy approved in 2011 to promote reforms in the country.
In addition, €5 million has been allocated for the same period for social projects (supporting vulnerable groups) and cultural projects (including heritage) implemented by civil society organisations or local authorities.
Examples of EU funded programmes: "FORGEC" (€ 2.2 million, 2013-2016) which has contributed to strengthen management capabilities in Cuban institutions; "BASAL" (EU contribution: € 8.3 million, 2013-2017), which is reinforcing the capacity of key Cuban actors at central and local level to gather, analyse, understand and use environmental and scientific information in relation to the impact of climate change, and to elaborate and implement related adaptation strategies and actions concerning agricultural production; the “Expertise Exchange Programme” (EU contribution: € 3.5 million, 2014-2017) which, up to now, has supported over 80 activities involving more than 1,200 Cuban public officials and more than 50 experts and/or public servants from Europe and other countries in the areas of Decentralisation, Public Policies, Tax Administration, Foreign Investment and External Trade contributing to the 2030 Cuban Development Strategy and accompanying the process of "updating" the Cuban economy and society; and "AGROCADENAS" (EU contribution: € 8.2 million, 2014-2018), which is contributing to improve the management of the value chains of milk, meat, maize and beans and to strengthen the capacities of farmers, agricultural cooperatives and other non-state entities.
Cuba also participates in EU regional programmes for Latin America. The main regional programmes delivered in Latin America and with key results for Cuba are: Al-Invest (covering the internationalisation of SMEs), COPOLAD (supporting cooperation on Drugs policies), EUROCLIMA (facilitating the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies) and Erasmus + (facilitating education mobility and capacity building in academic institutions; also, the University of Havana holds a Jean Monnet Chair).
Likewise, in 2015-2016, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is providing more than €3 million to fund six projects identified in the country with the aim of responding to emergencies, as well as reducing the risk of natural disasters.
In this context, the PDCA will create more opportunities for cooperation that promote sustainable development, democracy, human rights and support for the modernisation of the Cuban socio-economic model, as well as the search for common solutions to global challenges.