Regional Cooperation

Regional cooperation is largely facilitated through the programming of the 9th and the 10th European Development Funds (EDF) under the Cotonou Agreement. It is intended to bolster the respective regional strategies developed by the EU and CARICOM/CARIFORUM in conjunction with the respective member states. The EU has also signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with CARIFORUM which now governs trade relations with a link to development.

A new Joint EU-Caribbean Partnership Strategy is currently under development to chart the way forward over coming years. We expect to see political dialogue at the regional level becoming more frequent and more important.

The delegation is working with CARICOM/CARIFORUM on two overlapping cycles of implementation of programmes under Cotonou: the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes from the 9th and 10th EDF.

Overview of 9th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (€57,000,000)

The overall aim of the 9th EDF Regional Support Strategy is the beneficial integration of the Caribbean region into the world economy through a global repositioning aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth, regional cohesion and stability and continued improvements in living conditions.
Support to the Intensification of Regional Integration has been selected as the Focal sector:

  • An expansion in the regional economic base to increase market opportunities, improve the attractiveness of investments and achieve greater economies of scale.
  • Building upon a gradually harmonised economic space, the strengthening of trade-related capacity should enable the Caribbean region to play a full part in and take full advantage of international trade negotiations.
  • An enhanced regional economic space gradually integrated into the world economy should be the basis for an economic repositioning of the Caribbean, enabling the region to seize new and diversified opportunities.

As the Non-focal sector, the support strategy aims to assist the Caribbean region in fighting major vulnerabilities that pose serious constraints on regional economic development and political and social stability, such as support to drugs control and disaster management.

The 9th EDF Regional Programme is coming to a close.

Overview of 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (€165,000,000)

The 10th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) has seen nearly a tripling of funds over the 9th EDF to €165,000,000, largely due to the desire to provide additional support to the region in the wake of the Economic Partnership Agreement. It covers a six-year period and started in 2008. The underlying regional strategy takes also into account the recent political developments which point to stability in the Region including restoration of the democratic process in Haiti and assistance to that country in its development efforts. It also takes into account historical and current economic features and trends in CARIFORUM. More particularly, the Regional Strategy seeks to frame the assistance to CARIFORUM countries in their economic diversification efforts, namely to move away from overdependence on commodity exports and into services.

The regional strategy seeks to provide a broad framework for the RIP but may also become a point of reference for bilateral cooperation involving EU Member States in the promotion of regional integration and support for EPA implementation (via regional Aid-for-Trade packages).

The RIP is anchored in one (1) single focal sector ‘Regional Economic Integration and Cooperation’, which is indicatively allocated 85-90% of the available 10th EDF regional resources. The selected areas of intervention are:

  • CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) establishment and fostering CARICOM integration
  • Deepening of integration of OECS Economic Union both internally and with the CSME
  • Strengthening Intra-CARIFORUM regional cooperation
  • EPA implementation
  • Investing in human capital
  • Integration and cooperation in the wider Caribbean

The non-focal sector of the RIP addresses vulnerability and social issues having the potential to negatively impact on the development efforts of the region. In that regard, particular attention is paid to Crime and Security including the fight against illegal drugs, empowering Non-State Actors and Capacity Development. 10-15% of the RIP is allocated to activities in the non-focal sector.

Whilst the programming exercise for the 10th EDF RIP had registered some delays at the outset, the work engaged by the Delegation and the CARICOM Secretariat over the last year has allowed substantial progress to be made and it is anticipated that by the end of 2011 the total of decisions for programmes will amount to 136.4 M, or 83% of the RIP.

Two 10th EDF Regional Programmes are already in progress: the €3 m Technical Cooperation Facility (TCF) to boost local capacity and the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) for which a Contribution Agreement of €28.3 m was signed with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).

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