Discussions also touched on expanding the scope of Canadian experts who assist CARICOM countries and extending educational exchanges to include climate-change fields of study.
The Canada-CARICOM dialogue will cover all aspects of the relationship – political, trade, development and security – with support from decision makers from international institutions to develop strategies to deal with challenges specific to Small Island Developing States.
These meetings will address topics including:
- Access to finance and concessional financing
- Debt sustainability
- Trade and investment
- Climate resilience
- Multilateral cooperation
- Technical assistance and capacity building
Support for Climate and Economic Resilience
Canada will increase its support to small island developing states to bolster their climate and economic resilience, by means including:
- A new $20 million Canada-CARICOM Climate Adaptation Fund that would provide support that is adapted to the needs and capacities of CARICOM countries to fund specific initiatives, leveraging multilateral and private sector financing in such areas as agriculture, water infrastructure, and environmental sustainability; and
- $250,000 to support participants from CARICOM countries to attend the UN’s Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas Conference hosted by Jamaica in July 2020.
- Up to $250,000 to support the UN Conference on Trade and Development to be hosted by Barbados in October 2020.
- Support of economic growth and diversification to anchor climate change and resilience efforts.
- $20M through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) with to implement the Sustainable Agriculture Project in Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, Saint Lucia and Suriname to increase agricultural productivity while mitigating the impact of climate change on crop production.
- To support the Blue economy, Compete Caribbean will receive a $6M contribution from Canada for the funding of nearly 60 small and medium-sized enterprises working in fisheries, aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean renewable energy, high-tech marine services and develop government policies to improve the business environment.
Capacity Building through Technical Assistance
Canada’s current technical assistance in the Caribbean includes initiatives such as sending experts to help in auditing and statistics, and establishing the Sexual Offences Model Court in Antigua and Barbuda in 2019.
Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism
Canada will build on existing programs and establish a Canada-Caribbean Expert Deployment Mechanism, with a $5 million commitment over four years to enable Canada to respond quickly to the needs and priorities of CARICOM members.
Canada will move quickly to:
- Provide $2 million over three years to support a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of CARICOM’s 17 regional institutions.
- Commit up to $2 million and, alongside international partners, will work to accelerate and bolster CARICOM’s efforts to prevent and combat the spread of small arms and light weapons.
- Commit $2 million over two years to provide technical assistance to support better debt management by Caribbean countries.
Expand Educational Exchanges
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE) project at the 2018 Summit of the Americas. SAGE currently provides technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in 6 Caribbean countries, in partnership with Colleges and Institutes Canada.
The Canada-CARICOM Skills Training for the Green Economy Scholarship Program will build on the SAGE TVET project by committing $1 million per year for four years to fund scholarships that target the green economy sector and build the necessary skills for Caribbean countries in the areas of climate change and resilience building. This will include scholarship support to help those who otherwise would be unable to access programs in areas such as climate-smart agriculture, coastal and fisheries management, renewable energy, sustainable building techniques, and agri-forestry.