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Climate change mitigation earmarked as key area for EU funding

(L-R) CARIFORUM Director General Percival Marie, Dep. National Authorising Officer Tarachand Balgobin and CARICOM Communications Officer Michelle Nurse

Guyana is treating climate change mitigation as one of its key concerns in talks with donor partners as it prepares for another billion-euro round of funding from the European Union.

The media was Wednesday briefed on a two-day preparatory meeting ahead of the 11th European Development Fund [EDF] Programming Seminar for the Caribbean Region which opens on Thursday in Georgetown.

Director of Programming in the Ministry of Finance Tarachand Balgobin said that while the seminar will be dealing with the regional representatives it is hoped that the officials will also address the national programmes.

“In terms of the engagement we have been having with the local (EU) delegate here in Guyana, two main areas have been discussed and one of them is infrastructure and the other has to do with climate change and climate change-related types of activities.

We have not concluded that discussion so we’re still engaged with the local delegation office in Guyana to design the interventions on the national programme,” he said.

Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) Director General Percival Marie noted that in recent times the EU and CARIFORUM had endorsed a five-point joint strategy for cooperation. The areas identified were crime and security; regional integration and cooperation; climate change; institutional and economic development of Haiti; and a general collaboration between the two blocs at the wider international forum.

“As the Caribbean region we use the three dominant thematic areas, crime and security, regional cooperation and climate change as the main pillars on which we anticipate and hope to go forward with our regional programme with the European Union with specific attention and support for Haiti as a basic overarching theme,” Marie said.

However, he noted that specific projects have not yet been identified since they were still to learn the value of the assistance coming their way for the particular areas under the 11th EDF.

“It is a joint process and we’ll probably spend some time on Friday discussing that kind of structure and that kind of process, that’s the intent of the seminar,” Marie explained.

The EU Delegation in Georgetown has said that European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will be here for three days to participate in the seminar.

According to the Delegation, he is also expected to hold separate bilateral meetings with the National Authorising Officers of the attending member states and with representatives of the CARIFORUM Directorate.

Also on his itinerary is a visit to the Mangroves Restoration Project funded by the European Union and the Government of Guyana.

The 11th EDF will cover the period 2014 – 2020 and it is expected that the EU will provide its CARIFORUM partners with EURO 1 billion or US$1.4 billion in grants for the most vulnerable people in the Caribbean region.