Head of Delegation René van Nes (right) with President of the Territorial Council of St. Barths Xavier Lédée signing the financing agreement for first EU budget support funding programme last Friday.
BRUSSELS--The European Union (EU) is strengthening its commitment to the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) with a series of financing agreements to be signed in presence of the EU Head of Delegation René van Nes, during his visit to St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barths from January 17 to 28.
Van Nes and colleagues from the EU Delegation launched the new EU cooperation in St. Barths, Saba and St. Eustatius by signing the financing agreements as part of the EU’s next round of development cooperation funding programmes 2021-2027.
In Saba, the EU will grant 4.1 million euros as part of the new EU budget support programme on sustainable and resilient energy to continue developing the island’s renewable energy infrastructure.
In St. Eustatius, the new EU budget support programme focuses on sustainable agriculture. The EU funding of 2.9 million euros aims to strengthen the agriculture sector’s governance and create a conducive environment for the development of sustainable agriculture on the island.
For St. Barths, it is the first EU budget support funding programme. The focus is on disaster risk reduction, with a total EU funding of 2.5 million euros. The programme aims to improve reception capacities of the population in safe shelters and rescue stations, thereby reducing number of people affected by disasters.
The EU Delegation team also met last week with stakeholders of the Caribbean OCTs Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity RESEMBID programme in St. Maarten. This regional programme received a 42.67 million euros from EU funding.
The visit of the EU Delegation team to the islands is an indication of the European Union’s commitment to supporting the sustainable development and resilience of the overseas countries and territories. The EU’s renewed approach to closer cooperation with its partners around the world, called the Global Gateway, is an opportunity to connect and create jobs, skills and better living conditions for people, and to tackle global challenges together.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to visit these beautiful islands and meet with our partners to strengthen cooperation. I am eager to hear from governments and local communities about their aspirations and challenges, and to discuss how we can work together to achieve our shared goals,” said EU Head of Delegation Van Nes.
“The European Union has the ambition to be climate-neutral by 2050, which is nothing less than a revolution. Europe is the only continent in the world having set such a goal and is taking concrete actions to achieve this. The impact of climate change is worldwide. We do not leave our partner countries behind. The EU is the biggest funder in the world on actions related to climate mitigation and adaptation. I am very pleased to see the strong cooperation between the OCTs and the EU on these important issues.”
The Head of Delegation further expressed his determination to visit other OCTs in the region soon, namely Bonaire, Curaçao and Aruba, and intensify ongoing EU cooperation with partners there.