Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius Mervyn Stegers (right) signing the 11th EDF Caribbean Regional Programme and associated financing agreement at the OCTs Resilience Summit with from left, European Commission International Cooperation and Development Director-General Jolita Butkeviciene and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Leona Romeo-Marlin. (Maldwyn Timber photo)
ST. EUSTATIUS–Deputy Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius Mervyn Stegers and policy advisor at the Directorate Economy and Infrastructure Maldwyn Timber travelled to St. Maarten last week to take part in the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) Resilience Summit. Directly after the summit they signed the eleventh European Development Fund (EDF) regional financial agreement.
Stegers is Statia’s Territorial Authorising Officer (TAO) and Timber is the Deputy TAO. Timber was also a former project manager and dealt with many EDF projects, and that is why they were both invited to attend the summit as Statia’s representatives.
“The summit was perfectly organised, and I think St. Maarten went way above and beyond to make sure delegates were first of all well received and welcomed at the Princess Julianna International Airport and then transported with a police escort to their respective hotels,” Timber said.
The 11th EDF regional agreement was signed between St. Maarten and the European Union (EU) because Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin is the Regional Authorising Officer and St. Maarten is also the programme coordinator for the Caribbean.
Afterwards, each OCT signed an endorsement to that same financial agreement and Stegers signed on behalf of Statia. The agreement involves 40 million euros, which will be invested in regional projects involving resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity.
All projects have to be regionally-focussed, Timber explained. “The projects submitted cannot just be standalone projects that only benefit Statia or that only Statia can make use of, that is not the purpose of the programme. A submitted project has to be something that fits with another OCT, whereby two or more islands will benefit from a project,” he said.
He said that resilience is an area in which the islands have to work together in order to get things done. “As we all know resilience means coming back from a disaster or a hurricane,” Timber said.
He said the idea for the programme originally came about because of last year’s hurricanes. “The OCTs realised that most of the Caribbean islands suffered in the same way, as we are all prone, as we are in the hurricane belt. The OCTs identified that resilience is something that we can all work on together in creating a fund that would help each island really quickly, such as a quick response or something in that range,” Timber said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82250-statia-signs-regional-financial-agreement