PRESS RELEASE – The new INTERREG Caribbean programme was officially launched last Wednesday, 14th December 2016, in St. Lucia by representatives and officials of the French Overseas Departments and Collectivities of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana & Saint Martin, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the European Union (EU), with support from the Honourable Mr. Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of St. Lucia.
By launching the INTERREG V Caribbean programme in St. Lucia, the organizers made a statement of their commitment to consolidate regional partnerships (between the French Caribbean and the English-, Spanish- and Dutch- speaking countries and territories of the region), by strengthening the involvement of regional organisations, and to achieve a better co-ordination and distribution of the European Regional Development Funds to the benefit of the greater Caribbean.
The work carried out in consultation with all partners focused on the evaluation and selection of a large number of projects that have been submitted, which testifies to the growing success of the INTERREG Caribbean programme, opening up real prospects for strengthening Caribbean partnerships, and allowing all regional stakeholders to be a part of the effort to put transnational co-operation at the heart of the sustainable development of the region.
The preparation and realisation of the three-day conference constituted important moments of sharing, exchanging and building a true policy of regional co-operation and on Wednesday, 14th December, the new INTERREG Caribbean program was officially launched in the presence of many regional partners and stakeholders.
At the public meeting, Mrs. Marie-Luce Penchard, 2nd Vice-President of the Guadeloupe Region, in charge of regional co-operation, European affairs & Universities, took the opportunity to urge “project developers, who play a most vital role in the programme development, to get even more involved in order to build together a real partnership for the benefit of our [Caribbean countries and] territories”. She also expressed the strong will of the Region of Guadeloupe to support the development of their activities in the greater Caribbean, in a genuine sustainable and co-operative way.
“While the previous programmes have brought closer together project developers and regional stakeholders [to our territories]”, she continued, “the new INTERREG Caribbean programme intends to go even further by supporting projects in terms of economic competitiveness, natural risks and joint natural and cultural heritage.”
The programme also seeks to provide concrete answers to common issues and challenges shared by Caribbean countries and territories, which pertain to public health, renewable energy development and skills development.