International development banks pledge support for Caribbean nations

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has teamed up with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Eastern Caribbean.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as well as Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne for the signing of memorandum of cooperation at the Japan-Caribbean Community (Caricom) Conference this week in the Trinidad and Tobago capital of Port of Spain.

Signed by CDB Vice President Nigel Romano, JICA Vice President Toshiyuki Kuroyanagi and Gerard Johnson, general manager of IDB’s Country Department Caribbean Group, the agreement will support renewable and efficient energy in the Eastern Caribbean, including the possible creation of various financial arrangements to diversify the energy matrix by leveraging programs like the Co-Financing for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CORE) Program that was established by the IDB and JICA.

"The economic resurgence of the region depends on resolving the pervasive energy challenge,” said Johnson. “This memorandum of cooperation will provide the basis for the three development institutions, JICA, CDB and the IDB to collaborate in expanding the opportunities for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy to more Caribbean countries."

Japan will separately provide $15 million to help several Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries deal with the impact of climate change.

The Jamaica Observer reports that the Project for Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership will support Guyana, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Dominica and Belize with measures aimed at coping with climate change.

The agreement will assist the nations in developing and implementing climate change policies such as National Appropriate Mitigation Actions and National Adaptation Plans as well as in promoting technology transfers through various pilot projects, including the use of photovoltaic systems in selected countries as well as water supply systems and/or irrigation facilities for communities.