BASSE-TERRE, Guadeloupe, Dec. 11, CMC – A regional organization says the European Union (EU) plans to boost Caribbean competitiveness by strengthening regional partnerships.
On Saturday, the Guadeloupe-based STC INTERREG Cara´bes said that INTERREG V Caribbean, a multimillion dollar EU-funded programme to strengthen regional partnerships, will be officially launched in St. Lucia on Wednesday.
In addition to boosting the economic competitiveness of the region’s countries, the INTERREG V Caribbean programme will also respond to environmental challenges and health issues, while promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region.
According to STC INTERREG Cara´bes , the programme focuses on priority areas such employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy.
The INTERREG V Caribbean partners regional organizations, including the Association of Caribbean States; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); CARIFORUM; and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the Regional Councils of the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana, and the French Overseas Collectivity of St. Martin.
The organizations will meet to discuss the coordination and implementation of the programme from December 12 to 14 .
The three-day conference will highlight projects supported by INTERREG V Caribbean which aim to enhance regional collaboration.
By launching the 2014-2020 programme in St. Lucia, “the organizers are aiming to strengthen regional partnerships between the French Overseas Departments and the English-, Spanish- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries and territories of the region.”
It said another aim is to allow all regional stakeholders to be a part of the effort to put transnational cooperation at the heart of the sustainable development of the greater Caribbean.
Recognizing the growing importance of regional cooperation, STC INTERREG Cara´bes said the INTERREG Caribbean budget has been increased from €63 million (US$66.5 million) to €86 million (US$91 million), of whichá€64.2 million (US$68 million) is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the projects to be covered by the program through the French Overseas Departments and Territories.