Majority of Caribbean, Pacific countries get modest funding under EDF 2014-2020

A performance during the open ceremony of the Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States held from Sept. 1-4 in Apia, Samoa. Several attending Caribbean and Pacific states signed their national indicative programs with the European Union on the sidelines of the event on Tuesday. Photo by: Evan Schneider / United Nations

The European Union will mostly focus on sustainable energy under its national indicative programming for a number of Caribbean and Pacific island countries from 2014 to 2020.

That’s the conclusion that emerged on the sidelines of the Small Island Developing States conference taking place in Samoa, where, as Devex reported last week, government representatives from these nations were scheduled to finalize on Tuesday their funding agreements and priority sectors with the European Commission for the next six years.

All funding agreements are under the 11th European Development Fund, and do not yet include possible additional allocations from the EU’s other external funding instruments.

Almost all of the states that signed the agreements are classified as upper middle-income or high-income, and therefore it’s not surprising that agreed priorities in most of them are focused on just one sector. In the Caribbean countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, the European Union will be focusing its aid money on public finance management, health, job creation through private sector development, rural road infrastructure and economy building, respectively. On top of that, the bloc plans to channel its resources to water and sanitation in Samoa and the Cook Islands in the Pacific.

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Nine countries meanwhile have opted for EU funding to concentrate on boosting energy sources and access. Tonga’s 11.1 million euro ($14.6 million) allocation is dedicated to sustainable energy, although it’s expected that climate resilience initiatives will be tackled as a cross-cutting issue in many of these countries. In a speech prior to the event, European development commissioner Andris Piebalgs said, “We will work with them to increase resilience to climate change challenges and overcome energy poverty.”

“Climate-relevant activities are expected to be financed through all of ... Geographic and Development Cooperation Instrument thematic lines. This will consist of a combination of climate-specific programs and the mainstreaming of climate change in all sectors of cooperation (thematic and geographical), and more specifically energy and agriculture,” an EU spokesman clarified to Devex.

Pacific energy funding, the spokesman said, “almost always” have environmental aspects. Although over the years, countries benefit through substantial funding coursed through the Global Climate Change Alliance.

The EU meanwhile has maintained three priority sectors for Guyana, Samoa and East Timor, classified as lower middle-income countries. In East Timor, where two thirds of the population live in rural areas and many depend on agriculture for their livelihood, about 60 percent of EU funding is expected to focus on access, skills development in agricultural production, road construction and maintenance, and nutrition.

Cape Verde is the only African country that finalized its bilateral funding under the EDF at the event in Apia. The money — 55 million euros — will focus on two axes: the first on macroeconomic issues, public financial management and other poverty-related indicators, the second on the country’s security and stability and the “convergence of norms/standards.”

Below is a funding breakdown per country and their agreed priority sectors with the EU. The infographic shows the stark contrast between these Caribbean and Pacific island states and those African countries that have signed their national indicative programs in June, as well as the development and economic disparity among neighbors. Except for Guyana and Jamaica, Caribbean countries will each receive under 10 million euros, a small amount compared with the 420 million euros approved for Haiti and 72 million euros for the Dominican Republic.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.