Published On: Mon, Apr 20th, 2020

EU funds special facility to support the Caribbean OCTs facing COVID-19 crisis challenges

EU logoPHILIPSBURG — The Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Guyana, for Suriname and with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Saint-Barthélemy, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten is announcing a special facility to support the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) as they face the enormous resilience challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has further precipitated.

The facility is an immediate response to help the OCTs as it has been incorporated into the existing EU-funded RESEMBID programme (Resilience, Sustainable Energy, and Marine Biodiversity Programme) for Caribbean OCTs which has been in operation from its base on St. Maarten and is implemented by Expertise France.

Through this fully operational programme we have developed a regional mechanism that offers a rapid, highly flexible response to the needs of the OCTs amidst this deepening crisis. The EU is therefore pleased to announce the establishment of the RESEMBID COVID-19 resilience response facility, allocated by €10M of technical assistance mechanism that has been purpose-designed to provide a ready, highly flexible response.

The facility is being deployed across the OCTs, equipped with accelerated procedures, with priority actions to be determined by each OCT, consistent with urgent local public health, and socio-economic demands. To meet the urgent needs of societies the facility is at the ready to support actions in a broad spectrum of areas, ranging from medical equipment to technical support expertise to strategies for transition and recovery.

This initiative is part of a broader EU response approach that combines a number of special urgency measures, including the redeployment and reassignment of resources and loans from EU financial institutions. The intent is to address readily short-term needs as well as the severe long-term structural and economic dislocation that the crisis is expected to wreak on societies.

On 16th April, in her speech at the European Parliament special session on the coronavirus pandemic, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, firmly echoed the commitment of the European Union to humanity, stating that “Europe has now become the world’s beating heart of solidarity. The true Europe is standing up, the one that is there for each other when it is needed most”.

Ambassador of the European Union with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, H.E. Fernando Ponz Cantó, said, “I am proud to note that in this crisis the European Union is taking vigorous and intense action to support its citizens and its partners, and the values Europe holds dear across the world. These are the values that place humanity at the heart of the European project, and all that it stands for. And it is precisely in this spirit that we are honouring our association links with the Caribbean OCTs at this exceedingly trying time.”

EU Ambassador Canto & PM Silveria JacobsIn December 2019, Ambassador Ponz Cantó paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. Priority for the discussion were the ongoing EU funded projects on St. Maarten, the challenges being faced in the process and the commitment of St. Maarten in finalizing these projects. Prime Minister Jacobs said that these challenges have been highlighted in a meeting held with the Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) staff of the General Affairs Ministry. Prime Minister Jacobs further stated “Ambassador Ponz Cantó was very happy the projects had Government’s attention and pledged to continue to work with us to get them finalized.”

The EU is a major contributor to many island states in the Caribbean Region in Disaster Management projects and programs which were highlighted at a December 3th, 2019, CDEMA conference where Ambassador Ponz Cantó was also a featured speaker.


About the European Union

The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 countries that together cover much of the continent. The work of the EU spans policy areas from climate, environment and health, to external relations and security, justice and migration. The EU plays an important role in diplomacy and international partnerships and works to foster stability, security and prosperity, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law at international level.

The European Union Delegation to Guyana, for Suriname and with responsibility for Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten represents the European Union in all matters of its competence. The EU Delegation actively promotes the values and policies of the European Union, in an open and equal partnership with the governments and people of the countries and territories it covers.


The Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID) for Caribbean OCTs is financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean OCTs regional programme and is being implemented by Expertise France, the development cooperation agency of France.

The primary beneficiaries are the 12 Caribbean OCTs: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saint-Barthélemy. The overall objective of the programme is to support the sustainable human development efforts of the Caribbean OCTs, with operational objectives based on three pillars: resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity.


Related articles:
‘Identify the challenges shared by the whole island’
EU faces challenge of funding water treatment plant
European Commission waiting on St Maarten to present plan
Action needed to secure EDF-funding
Sint Maarten signed the OCTA Oceans Declaration and Roadmap
Governments of the Dutch, French side working on Doppler Radar Weather Station
Execution report finances first half 2017: Financing Dutch Quarter sewage project in peril