Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have undergone enormous changes in the last ten years. Notably, the social and economic structure in the LAC region has changed. To be relevant, our partnership has to reflect and keep pace with these changes.
Costa Rica is a good example of a partner country in which our cooperation is evolving. As the country has become an upper middle income country, our engagement with it has shifted. We now enjoy a more strategic partnership of equals, based on shared values and benefits.
Two ongoing projects highlight this shift.
A project financed by the EU's Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF) provides grant funding for an investment programme in water and sanitation that the Costa Rican water company is carrying out. This is a good example of the blending projects that the EU has been pursuing in recent years. It combines a EUR 90.5 million loan from KfW, the German state-owned development bank, and a EUR 3.6 million grant from LAIF to trigger the investment. Plus it combines KfW and EU technical expertise to deliver environmental and social sustainability and a high-quality performance.
The EU also supports new regional approaches through triangular cooperation schemes. In the project featured here, the EU works with Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico on the particular challenge of strengthening restorative justice. More specifically, it seeks to promote dialogue, reparations for damages and social reintegration. It does so through awareness-raising and peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing between the three countries’ judicial systems. Women and indigenous peoples are a key focus of the project, which has yielded positive results, above all in championing human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Triangular cooperation is a key tool for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. It is an innovative approach that recognises, values and combines diverse experience, expertise and capacities in a partnership of equals. It enables North and South providers of cooperation to join in common action, with each partner’s engagement complementing the others’, so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the development impact of the combined effort is multiplied.