BASSE-TERRE, Guadeloupe -- The INTERREG V Caribbean, a multimillion dollar EU-funded program to strengthen regional partnerships, will be officially launched in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.
In addition to boosting the economic competitiveness of the region's countries, the INTERREG V Caribbean program will also respond to environmental challenges and health issues, while promoting the joint cultural heritage of the region. The program focuses on priority areas such employment and innovation, natural hazards, the cultural environment, public health and renewable energy.
The INTERREG V Caribbean program partners regional organizations, including the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), CARIFORUM, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the Regional Councils of the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the French Overseas Collectivity of St Martin. The organizations will meet to discuss the coordination and implementation of the program from December 12 to 14 in Saint Lucia.
The three-day conference will highlight projects supported by the INTERREG Caribbean program, which aim to enhance regional collaboration. By launching the 2014-2020 program in Saint Lucia, the organizers are aiming to strengthen regional partnerships between the French Overseas Departments and the English-, Spanish- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries and territories of the region. Another aim is to allow all regional stakeholders to be a part of the effort to put transnational cooperation at the heart of the sustainable development of the greater Caribbean.
Recognizing the growing importance of regional cooperation, the INTERREG Caribbean budget has been increased from €63 million (US$66.5 million) to €86 million (US$91 million), of which €64.2 million (US$68 million) is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the projects to be covered by the program through the French Overseas Departments and Territories.
The general session on Wednesday morning is open to members of the public, especially entrepreneurs, project developers and other parties who have an interest in the financing of regional business opportunities.