EU signs financing agreements for Saba, Statia and St. Barths

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.

Ambassador René van Nes (right) visited the solar parks of the Saba Electric Company (SEC) where he received a tour of SEC Director/CEO David Leonce (left).

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, Curacao and Aruba, and intensify ongoing EU cooperation with partners there.

The Daily Herald.

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