U.S.-Caribbean Engagement

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March 1, 2024

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield led a U.S. delegation to Guyana to participate in the U.S.-Caribbean (CARICOM) Dialogue on February 25, 2024.  Her engagement builds on Vice President Kamala Harris’ April 2022 meeting  with Caribbean leaders, the Vice President’s June 2023 engagement  with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas, and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s participation in the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM in July 2023 in Trinidad and Tobago. The following are activities stemming from recent US efforts in the region.

U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC 2030)

At the 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, following consultations with Caribbean leaders, Vice President Kamala Harris launched PACC 2030 to strengthen our partnership with Caribbean nations on climate adaptation and resilience and clean energy.

Facilitating Clean Energy and Investment

Caribbean Climate Investment Program (CCIP): USAID awarded $3.6 million in two new grants to advise and prepare small and medium-sized enterprises for investment and to support a climate resilience and renewable energy investment firm with an emphasis on reaching women entrepreneurs.

The Department of State Power Sector Program (PSP): PSP supported advances in the geothermal project in Dominica with the December 2023 signing of commercial contracts between the Government of Dominica and Ormat Technologies, followed by World Bank funding approval for related power infrastructure for an estimated $90 million investment total. PSP will provide additional technical support to the government to support Dominica’s pursuit of 100 percent reliance on renewable energy.

Building Clean Energy Procurement Regulatory Capacity:   PSP and the Department of Commerce launched a clean energy investment and procurement training series for Caribbean energy regulators known as Power Hours.  PSP collaborated with the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation and Caribbean energy regulators to deliver 15 technical training and capacity building events on clean energy grid integration, clean energy procurement, and power system resilience.

Energy Resilience and Security: The State Department is launching the Energy Resilience and Security in the Caribbean program, working with the Local2030 Islands Network to provide on-demand support to strengthen Caribbean institutional capacity to deploy climate-resilient energy infrastructure development.

Food Security 

Caribbean Agricultural Improvement and Production Activity (CAPA): Through this $5.3 million, three-year activity, USAID promotes sustainable agricultural practices, increases farmer knowledge via improved extension services, formalizes smallholder farms‘ market access by building micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise capacity to improve the region’s access to locally produced food.

McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program:  In 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a new five-year McGovern-Dole project to the World Food Program (WFP), valued at $33 million, delivering daily hot school meals to approximately 75,000 pre-primary and primary school students in northern Haiti.  The project includes a local and regional procurement component, technical assistance and advocacy to build food system resilience, provide nutrition education, improve access to water, and increase literacy.

Resilient Agriculture Activity in the Dominican Republic: This $2.7 million, two-year project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in February 2023, directly addresses the spike in food prices, crude oil, and commodities—including fertilizers and other common agricultural inputs—due to supply chain disruptions.  The project aims to mobilize funding from the private sector and will benefit 1,500 farmers, 30 percent of them women and youth.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices and Extension: The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, under its Cochran Fellowship Program, is planning a training program for Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, focused on the adoption of comprehensive climate-smart agriculture strategies in the Caribbean.

International Climate Hub: USDA provided training on U.S. resources for 12 grantees of the Partners of the Americas’ Environmental Protection and Resilience Professional Exchange Program across the Caribbean.   Participants were instructed on the International Climate Hub’s research, resources, and tools to help them make climate-informed decisions.

Food Safety Training: USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service provided food safety trainings in collaboration with the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Barbados on requirements of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The FDA-certified workshop prepared participants to lead and support the creation, development, and implementation of Food Safety Plans in their food processing companies.

African Swine Fever (ASF) Prevention and Control: USDA supports increased ASF prevention and control capabilities in the Caribbean.  Anticipated outcomes include improved regulatory frameworks for animal health, surveillance, and biosecurity, increased field and laboratory surveillance capabilities, and effective inter-sectoral coordination for the prevention and control of ASF in the Caribbean.

Enhancing Local Capacity for Climate Adaptation & Resilience

The President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE):  PREPARE focuses on enhancing local capacity for climate adaptation and resilience with a set of activities in the Caribbean region.

Caribbean Resilient Economies and Sectors (RESET): On January 30, USAID announced $6.1 million in funding for the new Caribbean Resilient Economies and Sectors (RESET) activity, which will reduce barriers to public and private finance to build climate and disaster resilience and support the adoption of climate smart practices in critical sectors.

USAID Caribbean Sustainable Ecosystems Activity (CSEA): With $5.8 million, USAID’s CSEA will reduce threats to coastal-marine biodiversity and build the resilience of coastal communities in the Caribbean to the negative impacts of climate change.  The program will focus on preserving endangered ecosystems and species such as mangroves and coral reefs, as well as communities of sharks, rays, marine turtles, and more.  The work will also enhance climate resilience and the well-being of local communities including women, youth, and other marginalized groups.

Strengthening Water Security in Haiti:  USAID will provide $10 million to build resilience and reduce the impact of climate and other shocks and stresses to Haiti’s water resources.  The activity will enhance the capacity of institutions to manage, finance, and deliver safe, reliable, and resilient drinking water services. With this support, one million Haitians will have access to climate-resilient sources of safe water.

Department of Defense (DOD) Operationalize Climate Resilience Initiative: The initiative is part of DOD’s $5 million program to assist partners in the Western Hemisphere, particularly in the Caribbean, to provide training to defense and security partners in how to plan against, prepare for, and respond to climate contingencies.  Between March – July 2024, the Department of Defense will host sub-regional symposia and a region-wide capstone conference on addressing the impacts of climate change.  The program’s goal is to catalyze regional collaboration and response mechanisms leading to climate-resilient outcomes.

Department of the Navy Climate Resilience Initiative: In January 2024, the Department of the Navy led a series of engagements with Caribbean partners focused on climate resilience, hosting two Caribbean Chiefs of Defense staff for a lecture to Navy and Marine Corps higher education institutions and will continue engagement by hosting technical workshops in early 2024.  Topics include resilient infrastructure, community health and safety, and climate research, data sharing and technology transfer. These engagements will culminate in a tabletop exercise in May 2024 on how the U.S. and Caribbean partners can work together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster event.

Regional Storm Surge Modeling and Forecasting Workshop: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with funding from USAID, developed and deployed storm surge risk maps to improve understanding of storm surge flooding vulnerability from landfalling tropical cyclones in The Bahamas.  NOAA will host a regional storm surge modeling and forecasting workshop in Barbados in April focused on training forecasters and civil defense on utilizing these new early warning systems.

Heat and Health Forecasting for the Caribbean: NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, with funding from the Department of State, will implement a 3-day workshop in April with Caribbean partners on heat and health forecasting on the climate scale.  The workshop will bring together officials from throughout the Caribbean region to assess current capacity and challenges for health early warning systems; develop a framework for a heat-health early warning system; and lay out next steps for advancing these systems.

National Frameworks for Climate Services: NOAA, with funding from the Department of State, is supporting a Regional Workshop on National Frameworks for Climate Services in the Caribbean.  The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology will convene the workshop in March 2024 to advance the development and implementation of national-scale climate services. The outcomes of this workshop are expected to bolster the adaptive capacity and resilience of participating islands from across the Caribbean.

Caribbean Hurricane Awareness: The NOAA National Weather Service, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of “Hurricane Hunters”, will conduct its annual Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour this April.  The Hurricane Hunters will fly to The Bahamas, Barbados, and St. Lucia to host on-the-ground events that leverage aircraft tours to engage local civic leaders, emergency managers, air traffic managers, and the media ahead of hurricane season.

Tsunami Community Preparedness and Resilience: NOAA, with funding from USAID, and in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development goal that 100 percent of communities at risk from tsunamis are prepared and resilient to tsunamis by 2030, is implementing Tsunami Ready projects throughout the Caribbean.  Tsunami hazard and evacuation modeling, in addition to preparedness and response planning activities, are supported to save lives and minimize impact in the region.

Improving Access to Development Finance

Enabling High-Quality Growth Through Increased Private Sector Financing: At the Summit of the Americas, President Biden committed to a capital increase for the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, IDB Invest.  IDB Group shareholders plan to conclude negotiations on the capital increase and a new Group-wide Institutional Strategy that incorporates a dedicated framework to address the unique needs of the Caribbean at the Annual Meetings in the Dominican Republic from March 8-10, 2024.  The IDB Group will be able to mobilize substantial private capital to increase investments in a low-carbon, climate-resilient and inclusive future in a manner that responds to the needs of low-lying and climate-vulnerable nations in the Caribbean.

Technical Assistance for the CARICOM Development Fund: With $1.75 million in funding, USAID supported the development of the CARICOM Development Fund’s new Resilience Fund by providing advisory services to support capital fundraising and build an investment pipeline.  The Resilience Fund, which is anticipated to raise $100 million, aims to expand investment in adaptation and climate change in the eastern and southern Caribbean.

Crisis Response Financing and Toolkit: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Evolution initiative continues to bear fruit.  The World Bank’s expanded crisis response toolkit will benefit the Caribbean through piloting of climate-resilient debt clauses, and greater agility in accounting for vulnerability in resource allocation and eligibility decisions.

Supporting Small Business: The U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) approved a $200 million loan to Banco Popular Dominicano in the Dominican Republic. The deal will support the institution’s lending to small businesses and women entrepreneurs, including 10 percent allocated for sustainability projects.

Supporting Private Sector Development: The DFC plans to open a regional office at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo to support private sector development in the Dominican Republic and across the Caribbean.  DFC’s on-the-ground presence will help advance opportunities in critical sectors for the region such as renewable energy, infrastructure, and climate solutions, among other top development finance priorities.

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