On 16 April, the EU and Cuba held in Havana their first Dialogue on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. This dialogue, which stems from the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), took stock of the progress that Cuba and the EU have made, the challenges they face and opportunities for bilateral and multilateral joint initiatives towards the Agenda 2030.
The Dialogue was co-chaired, on the EU side, by Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, and Alberto Navarro, EU Ambassador to Cuba, and, on the Cuban side, Rodolfo Reyes, Director-General for Multilateral Issues and International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The day before representatives of Cuban and European civil society exchanged views on advancing their shared sustainable development challenges.
The agenda focused on the SDGs considered as most pertinent for both sides, namely, SDG 2 (zero hunger), 5 (gender equality), 7 (sustainable energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 13 (climate change). It also analysed some key strategies in encouraging investments and promoting triangular and regional cooperation. Both parties agreed on shared views in the upcoming multilateral related fora.
The Cuban side expressed how the negative effects of the US embargo undermined their efforts towards sustainable development. The EU restated their long standing position against the embargo and the illegal nature of its extraterritorial provisions.
In a press meeting after the Dialogue, Rogelio Sierra, Cuban vice minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that Cuba has ratified the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), which was signed by both sides in December 2016 and entered into provisional application on 1 November 2017.
Mr Manservisi held meetings with the Cuban ministers of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez and Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca and the Historian of Old Havana, Eusebio Leal.
In the context of the growing cooperation between EU and Cuba, Stefano Manservisi and Ileana Núñez, Vice Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment launched agreements providing additional commitments for a total € 61.5 million in the EU-Cuba cooperation areas of food security, renewable energy, climate change, economic modernisation and culture:
€ 21.65 million for food security, sustainable and resilient agriculture.
€ 14.5 million for renewable and resilient energy.
€ 15 million for the Cuba-Caribbean Culture Programme.
€ 6.5 million on adaptation programmes confronting climate change.
€ 3.8 million to support economic modernisation and facilitate trade and investments.
The new EU commitments prove the EU’s enhanced engagement with Cuba to encourage sustainable development and to find shared solutions to global challenges through joint action in multilateral fora.
The EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) was signed in December 2016 and entered into provisional application on 1 November 2017.
The Dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals completes the first cycle of the five new political dialogues launched by HRVP Mogherini and Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez during the first EU-Cuba Ministerial Joint Council under the PDCA in May 2018. The other political dialogues cover the topics of human rights (first held on 9 October 2018 in Havana), unilateral coercive measures (first held on 19 November 2018 in Brussels) and illicit arms trade and non-proliferation (first held on 7 March 2019 in Brussels).