KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- Officials from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are heading to St Vincent and the Grenadines, where they will host the first formal negotiation meeting for the replenishment of the Bank’s Special Development Fund (Unified) [(SDF(U)]. The replenishment process is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
The SDF(U) negotiation meeting takes place on March 10, 2016. It will follow meetings of CDB’s board of directors, which will also be held in St Vincent from March 7 to 9, 2016.
CDB expects more than 70 attendees at the negotiation meeting, during which Bank officials will hold discussions with current and prospective contributors to the Fund.
“We are pleased to be opening negotiations to replenish the SDF(U) in St Vincent, a beneficiary of the Fund. The SDF(U) is one of CDB’s most vital sources of funding that helps meet the Caribbean Region’s high-priority development needs. We look forward to sharing with our partners the progress our Borrowing Member Countries are making through the Fund, and to putting a spotlight on new opportunities to invest in the future of women, men and children in our most vulnerable communities,” said Yvette Lemonias-Seale, vice president (corporate services) and bank secretary, CDB, who has oversight of the meetings.
The SDF(U) is the Bank’s largest pool of concessionary funds, which are used to address poverty and human development challenges throughout the Caribbean region.
Contributions to the Fund come from all member countries of CDB, as well as non-members. The SDF(U) has a four-year replenishment cycle. The current cycle, the Fund’s eighth, covers the period 2013 to 2016. From 1970 to the end of 2015, SDF(U) contributors had approved US$1.63 billion in loans and grants to CDB’s borrowing member countries.
Recent SDF(U) investments include:
• Rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure damaged by the past two years’ extreme rainfall events in Dominica, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines;
• A programme in Haiti focused on education and training, community-driven development, agriculture, and building resilience to natural hazards;
• A technical vocational education and training project in Suriname, benefitting more than 14,000 students; and
• Support for policy reforms in Jamaica that aim to reduce poverty among vulnerable groups.
SDF(U) resources also finance the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), CDB’s flagship poverty reduction programme. BNTF continues to make a difference in meeting the basic needs of the poor in 10 countries. At the end of 2015, US$158 million had been allocated from the SDF(U) to the BNTF Programme, for projects spanning areas such as education, human resource development, infrastructure and sanitation.