Thursday 22 August, 2019

EU rolls out $2.8b cooperation agreements with Jamaica

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica (right) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith CARIFORUM summit on Monday.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica (right) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith CARIFORUM summit on Monday.

The European Union on Monday announced two cooperation agreements with the Jamaican government aimed at boosting its support to the island’s climate change resilience and public finance management programmes.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica, during a visit, announced two cooperation agreements, worth a total of $2.3 billion and $509.1 million.

“Today's cooperation programmes will support our Jamaican partners in two areas. Under the Forestry Programme, we will support the government’s vision to build up climate change resilience and protect precious forest resources. The program will support biodiversity while paying special attention to developing a low-emission and climate-resilient economy,” Mimica said.

Under the Public Finance Management Programme, the EU will assist the government in building the necessary structures of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services.

The first programme, the budget support for climate change and the environment focused on the forestry sector is valued at $2.3 billion (€16.55 million) and is the second largest bilateral cooperation agreement between the EU and Jamaica for the period 2013-2020.

The project will strengthen sustainable forest management in Jamaica by supporting the modernisation of the regulatory framework and the enforcement capacity of the forestry department to include amending the Forest Act (1996) and supplying cutting-edge tools.

It will also support actions on the ground to assist forest-dependent communities including upscaling existing alternative livelihood projects (e.g apiary, eco-tourism related projects, training, etc) and strengthen public awareness/education regarding issues like forest fires.  This will further the country's social and economic development and help build up its climate resilience.

Meanwhile, the public finance management programme worth $509.1 million (€3.65 million) will assist the Government in building the institutional structures and systems to facilitate the creation and implementation of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services in Jamaica.

During his visit, Commissioner Mimica met with Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness. Their discussions focused on the country’s ongoing commitment to economic reforms, priority areas for future cooperation, the Post-Cotonou process and the fight against crime.

The commissioner later had the chance to see first- hand the challenges in this area during a field visit to one of the historical parts of Kingston, Trench Town.

While in Jamaica, the commissioner also met with representatives from CARIFORUM – the EU is CARIFORUM’s second-largest trading partner – and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

Mimica also signed five regional programmes on issues ranging from trade, regional integration and investments, to more effective justice systems.

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