CARICOM Meets with IDB to review cooperation program

IDB Representative, Joel Branksi in conversation with CARICOM Secretariat Percival Marie, Executive Director Resource Mobilisation and Technical Mobilization Unit and CARIFORUM Directorate

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) A team from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat met with a Mission from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Thursday (12 April) to explore priority areas of cooperation and funding for regional development and to initiate dialogue toward shaping a strategy for future interventions in the Caribbean region.

CARICOM Secretariat Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite who led the team, underscored the pivotal role that this International Development Partner plays in assisting the integration process and strengthening the economies of the Caribbean.

She pointed to recent introspective actions that the Community had taken, which had resulted in clear directions for the region; more focused priorities and the review of the CARICOM Secretariat. She highlighted plans for complete review of all CARICOM institutions, noting that the process had started with the Secretariat and that a review of the security-

related institutions such as the Implementing Agencies for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) and the Regional Security System (RSS) was ongoing and is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The Deputy Secretary-General also expressed her hope that at the end of the Meeting, both partners would not only identify priority areas for cooperation and funding but would agree on a mechanism to “move forward” on future IDB supported interventions in the region.

IDB Representative Mr Joel Branski reaffirmed that the Bank’s priorities for support to CARICOM included assisting the integration process, strengthening CARICOM and building the region’s capacity for disaster risk management.

IDB lead Economics Specialist, Mr Desmond Thomas also gave a comprehensive presentation of the possible sources of funding at the Bank, but warned that many of those sources were competitive and would prove rather challenging to access.

At the end of what was considered a frank exchange of views, both partners agreed on preparing a framework which include a definition of current challenges faced by the region and the identification of priority programs and interventions areas that the IDB could support within the context of those challenges in the short to medium term. They also earmarked immediate priority areas for urgent attention which include air and maritime transportation; information and communication technology for development and building CARICOM’s capacity to support Haiti. Other future intervention projects would focus on crime and security; renewable energy, cultural industries and agriculture. Cross cutting issues such as communication, youth and gender development as well as capacity building would be addressed within all agreed interventions.

Established in 1959, the IDB considers itself, the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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