CARICOM records noteworthy successes in 2017 despite challenges

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Secretary-General at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN SG Antonio Guterres and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner
CARICOM Secretary-General Amb. Irwin LaRocque (l) at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (r) and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The more than US$2B pledged at the CARICOM-UN Conference for long-term recovery for hurricane-affected countries and the establishment of the regional renewable energy center are among the successes CARICOM recorded for 2017 in spite of the year’s challenges.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said in his End of Year Message that the Community was ending 2017 with several other noteworthy achievements, including a change in posture by International Financial Institutions and some Development Partners with respect to access to concessionary development financing.

“It is encouraging to note that our relentless advocacy with respect to the lack of access to concessional development financing appears to be bearing fruit. There is some re-thinking on this issue taking place at the level of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and some of our international development partners (IDPs),” the Secretary-General stated.

Adding that CARICOM will continue to advocate for this change he said the Region’s vulnerability to external shocks, which the hurricanes laid bare, emphasised the urgent need for the international community to dispense with GDP per capita as a primary criterion for access to concessional development financing. (more…)

CARICOM Heads of Government sign Agreement establishing Energy Institution

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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government on Thursday signed the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE). The signing was done at the Thirty Eighth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in St. George’s, Grenada.  
The signing of the Agreement by ten countries – Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname – represents the clearing of the penultimate hurdle to the legal establishment of the Centre. The last step is the ratification of the Agreement by at least five signatories. As the only CARICOM institution with an exclusive energy mandate, the Barbados-based CCREEE is intended to function as the implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, as well as the Caribbean Sustainable Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). When it is fully operational, the Centre is expected to improve the quantity and quality of programmes and projects in sustainable energy within the Region. Energy plays a critical part in supporting the sustainable development of Caribbean countries and the CCREEE, an action-oriented institution, can lead to improvements in sustainable energy production, delivery and use, through increased renewable energy applications and energy efficiency measures.

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Energy efficiency centre inaugurated in Barbados

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

An institution that is geared at hastening CARICOM’s transition to new sustainable and clean energy production systems was inaugurated on Wednesday in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) is designed to assist Member States to navigate the renewable energy and energy efficiency investment climate, and support a modern energy landscape for sustainable development in the Region. The CCREEE is also to be an implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, Roadmap and Strategy.

At the inauguration ceremony Wednesday morning, Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said that the event was timely, and it was a credit to the Community that such a critical institution came to fruition a year after it was recommended. Last November, at the request of Dominica’s Prime Minister, the Hon Roosevelt Skerrit, a recommendation from a technical validation workshop of senior energy and policy experts was placed before the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED). The COTED endorsed the proposal and recommended it to the CARICOM Heads of Government for approval which was granted in July at their 36th Summit. (more…)