Today, at the High-Level Donor Conference for the Caribbean in New York, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica pledges a substantial €300 million development support package to the Caribbean region. This assistance comes in the aftermath of the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria. Out of the total amount, about a third will be new grant resources for the countries of the region.
Commissioner Mimica said: "Caribbean countries have again been struck by deadly hurricanes. The European Union stands by the region, and our assistance package of €300 million will provide much needed support to accelerate recovery, strengthen resilience, and step up progress towards a sustainable economic path. The EU is supporting the region to reinforce its resilience to natural disasters and climate change."
While some of the funds will be used to cover humanitarian gaps in Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Cuba, the majority will provide support for medium-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts at national level in Antigua and Barbuda, in Dominica, in St Kitts and Nevis, in Cuba and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). At regional level, the EU's assistance will help to build longer term resilience by increasing the region's disaster preparedness as well as its ability to adapt to climate change.
In the margins of the conference, Commissioner Mimica will meet key Caribbean counterparts to discuss reconstruction efforts, EU support and overall bilateral relations. This includes the prospects for a renewed partnership, after the Cotonou Agreement will expire in 2020. The Cotonou Agreement is the current legal framework for the relations between the EU and the Caribbean region.
Finally, the Commissioner is also signing a new programme with the President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr Warren Smith. This programme will support the development of geothermal energy sources. The project will help these countries to reduce their dependence on energy imports and hence, promote clean energy sources and improve their energy security.
The full press release is available online here.