By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
Officials from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), have formalized their intention to work together to address pressing issues relating to climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Caribbean.
The signing took place on Thursday at CDB’s offices in Barbados, and was part of a two-day visit to the island by officials of the EIB, including its Vice President, Pim Van Ballekom.
Dr. Warren Smith, President of CDB, said: “The Letter speaks to strengthening support for the sustainable economic development of our region and, more specifically, to supporting climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives in Caribbean countries. It, therefore, represents another phase in the strengthening of a long standing partnership and a deepening of cooperation between our two institutions that has produced four loan operations, to date.”
He noted that the Letter of Intent formalizes a relationship between the institutions which began in 2011 when EIB agreed to provide a US$65.3 million Climate Action Line of Credit to CDB to be used to finance public or private sector climate action projects, including energy efficiency; renewable energy; transportation; low-carbon technologies, development and innovation and adaptation.
Total commitments to date from that Line of Credit amount to US$35 million, or 54 per cent of the facility, with the funds being used for highway reconstruction; water supply redevelopment; dam rehabilitation and a solar PV plant. It is anticipated that the funds will be fully committed by March 2016.
Van Ballekom said that the EIB and CDB teams have been cooperating closely to enable investment in projects that reduce carbon emissions and strengthen infrastructure from climatic uncertainties.
“Countries here in the Caribbean face serious economic and social challenges that must be addressed alongside building resilience to climate change. Both CBD and the EIB are mainstreaming climate action to ensure that infrastructure is built, or rebuilt, to higher standards”, he said.