CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Caraïbes programme in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission held an intensive two-day session during July 19 – 20, 2018 in Saint Lucia to provide insight into the development programme and share best practices on access to funding.
Taking into consideration the converging challenges and interests given the geographical proximity of the French West Indies and Caribbean countries of the OECS, the Interreg Caraïbes programme works with stakeholders to create equitable and sustainable cooperation by encouraging political dialogue and coordination between development programs financed by both the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the INTERREG Caraïbes European territorial cooperation program.
Gilles Bajazet, director of the Joint Secretariat of the Interreg Caraïbes programme, hosted the meeting with the OECS Commission in Saint Lucia, the site of the Interreg Caraïbes V launch.
“Organising the meeting in Saint Lucia, following the launch of the programme here two years ago, is another strong symbol that expresses the desire for ownership of the Interreg programme by all partners.
“Today, we hope to continue this collaboration by permitting a better understanding of the programme by the OECS’ technical units and the identification of projects that will be funded by Interreg,” Bajazet said.
Head of the OECS development cooperation and resource mobilisation, Beverly Best, urged stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen regional ties so as to ensure that the Caribbean region is developed on a sustainable path.
“The main intent of the Interreg Caraïbes programme is to advance regional cooperation by fostering opportunities for collaboration and to enhance a culture of cooperation.
“This meeting symbolises and signals a strong commitment towards deepening regional cooperation and collaboration between our two regions, which for all intents and purposes is really a single region,” Best added.
The Interreg Caraïbes programme focuses on the thematic areas of employment and innovation, natural hazards, natural and cultural environment, public health, renewable energies and human capital. It supports a robust development paradigm that is wholistic, relevant and people-centered for the region.
The Interreg Caraïbes programme is led by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, as the managing authority.
The Programme comprises two integrated components:
• A cross border component, only for project leaders located in Guadeloupe, Martinique with a partner from the OECS valued at €41 million; and
• A transnational component for project leaders located in Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, St Martin with a partner from the wider Caribbean; valued at approximately €23 million.
Participants at the two-day meeting shared their concrete project ideas to reinforce operational cooperation between the OECS and the Interreg Caraïbes partners and expressed satisfaction on the clarity afforded by the session.