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Earth Today | Caribbean islands awarded EU grants to address sustainable energy, marine biodiversity

Published:Thursday | March 17, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Fabian Mckinnon
Fabian Mckinnon

AS THE Caribbean faces the triple threat of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, three islands and two regional entities have been given a leg up, thanks to €3 million in grants that were recently awarded through the European Union-funded RESEMBID programme.

RESEMBID – Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity – is being implemented by Expertise France, the development cooperation agency of the government of France. The programme supports sustainable human development efforts in 12 Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

The recent grants were awarded to three of the 12 OCTs supported by the programme (Cayman Islands, Anguilla and Saint Maarten) as well as the regional bodies Caribbean Electric Utilities Corporation (CARILEC) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), under the themes of resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity.

The three million euros have been allocated to the seven projects as follows:

1. The ACS received €269,402 to undertake a sustainable energy project around advancing collaboration as a strategy for building tourism crisis resilience in OCTs of the Greater Caribbean.

2. CARILEC received €467,715 for its sustainable energy project, titled ‘Overcoming Disruptions in times of Crisis - Weathering the Social and Financial Impact of COVID-19 on the Electricity Sector’.

3. The VNG International, with support from the government of St Maarten, has received €1,000,390 to implement a project focused on crisis management and building resilience.

4. The Anguilla National Trust has received a budget of €587,024 to implement a project that will work on the transformation of Anguilla’s marine parks through institutionalising sustainable and collaborative management solutions that support long-term management plan implementation. This is for the benefit of Anguilla’s marine biodiversity, coastal resiliency, and its people.

5. The Cayman Islands received three grants. The first was €432,210, which was awarded to the University College of the Cayman Islands to implement a renewable energy and sustainable development training programme for the college.

6. The second Cayman Islands grant of €203,384.00 was awarded to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) for its project on adapting to COVID-19 to ensure project continuity, and providing technical assistance to support CCMI’s capacity to be an OCT regional leader in protecting marine biodiversity and improving resilience.

7. Last, the CCMI will also implement a project focused on increasing coral reef resilience with a budget of €257,950. This project will build research capacity at the CCMI, provide expertise to conduct thermal tolerance experiments, and improve restoration strategies.

“For the last three years, the RESEMBID team has worked quietly and diligently with applicants in the 12 Caribbean OCT islands to ensure their project ideas are developed into full-fledged projects,” noted Fabian McKinnon, programme director for RESEMBID.

“We could not be prouder of the owners of these projects, and are happy to be part of their journey to bring these sustainable ideas in resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity to life. We look forward to supporting the OCTs in quickly rolling out many more in the weeks and months to come,” he added.

RESEMBID commenced in January 2019 and is financed under the 11th European Development Fund Caribbean OCT Regional Programme. In addition to the recently contracted projects, RESEMBID has over 40 additional projects and concept notes approved or under review for funding. Its other OCTs are Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy, and Turks and Caicos.