Garnering Philanthropic/Private Sector Support to achieve SDGs in the Caribbean

New York, N.Y. (September 27th 2019) – The newly formed Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance (CariPhil Alliance) has been recognized by the United Nations (UN) as one of the Accelerated Actions that will accelerate achievements of the SDGs in the Caribbean region.
The commitment posted on the UN website as SDG Action # 33855 outlines the expected impact of the initiative to scale up existing activities that are aligned to the SDGs; undertake new activities that are aligned to the SDGs; and forge more regional and international collaboration and partnerships that can enhance the achievement of the SDGs.


It is expected that the multi-stakeholder linkages created will enhance these outcomes as well as close existing gaps. This includes bringing greater awareness about the SDGs to the private and philanthropic sectors and fostering more public-private sector partnerships.
This initiative heralds a milestone for the private sector in the Caribbean region.


While climate change and its impact on the region was the lead theme, major issues at the panel discussion included the necessity for education and awareness of regional challenges; the inclusion of youth perspectives; the role of women; the participation by media; and the need for legislative change regionally to support philanthropy. It was noted that social ills such crime can be alleviated through strategic collaboration.

Supporters of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance participated in a panel discussion at the SDG Action Zone last evening on the issue of “Tackling Core Development Challenges.” The Panel was moderated by Prof. Rosalea Hamilton, CEO, LASCO Chin Foundation and included speakers: Hon. Lascelles Augustus Chin, Founder/Chairman Lasco Affiliated Companies; Prof. Guerda Nicolas, Co-Founder/Board Secretary, Ayiti Community Trust; Grace Burnett, CEO & President, GKMS Group; CEO, GraceKennedy Financial Group; Kiran Maharaj, President/Co-Founder, Media Institute of the Caribbean; Menelik Graham, Princeton University Student; and Chaz Garraway, Dalhousie University Student. The interview session was done in the media zone and speakers included Fred Kennedy, Rosalea Hamilton and Matthew Lynn.

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Launch of Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance

The Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance is being launched on Thursday September 26, 2019 from 2:00pm EST in New York.

The formal opening ceremonywill be streamed from their Facebook page. Please like and check it out to see how you can be a part of the CPA.

Following the launch, on Friday the CPA team will be at the SDG Action Zone on Friday at the UNHQ from 11:15am to 12:15pm

CARICOM Commission On the Economy Re-Established

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 18, 2019 – CARICOM has re-established a CARICOM Commission on the Economy, with Special Envoy to the Prime Minister of Barbados on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud, returning as its chairman.

Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM, David Comissiong said that Professor Persaud presented an interim report at the recent 40th Regular Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in St Lucia, that gave broad outlines on how the commission identified the problems facing the region, and what solutions they believed were appropriate for economic development.

“Professor Persaud was very clear that we now have to pursue a people-centred developmental model, where the emphasis will have to be on education, skills and innovation. He was very clear that we have to take concrete measures to solve the problems of intra-regional transport, [and] freight, as well as people. And the fundamental thinking of the commission is that we have to create greater access,” he said.

“The buzzword he used, or the central word was…’access for our people’. Our people must have enhanced access to financial resources; enhanced access to the banking system, to education, to training, to health services; [and] access to every citizen. We must now, in going forward, pursue a people-centric developmental model based around the idea that we must enhance access of the individual citizen to education, to entrepreneurial [and] financing opportunities; access in ownership of wealth, [and] access in every dimension.”

The commission is expected to report in six months, with a fully fleshed out action plan based on those broad principles.

Last year, CARICOM Heads of Government reconstituted a high-level commission on the economy led by Professor Persaud of Barbados, comprising experts with regional and international reputations to help CARICOM craft a new economic developmental strategy, and to break the syndrome of low growth and economic stagnation that many member states have been experiencing since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008.


Courtesy: Caribbean 360

Latin America – Caribbean GDP expected to decline: 0.5 percent in 2019 vs 0.9 percent 2018

SANTIAGO, Chile – The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) expects economic growth in the region to continue to decline, due to an international context of greater uncertainty and complexity, and weak performance by investment, exports, and consumption.

This is the outlooks of the annual Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2019, announced this week by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional organization, at a press conference in Santiago, Chile.

According to the report, the region will grow this year by just 0.5 percent a lower figure than the 0.9 percent registered in 2018. This performance is attributed to the effects of a slowdown in synch with the global economy, which has meant an unfavorable international scenario for the region. Likewise, the low growth internally is due to the lack of momentum exhibited by investments, exports and a fall in public spending and private consumption.

 Compared to previous years, the slowdown in 2019 will be generalized and affect 21 of the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. On average, South America is expected to grow by 0.2 percent, Central America 2.9 percent and the Caribbean 2.1 percent.

“The region is facing an external context of greater uncertainty and growing complexity: less momentum from world economic activity and global trade; greater volatility and financial fragility; questioning of the multilateral system and an increase in geopolitical tensions,” indicated Alicia Bárcena.

According to the Economic Survey 2019, fiscal space has been restricted by insufficient income levels to cover spending, which translates into deficits and an increase in debt in recent years. Moreover, the effects of the growing foreign exchange volatility and greater depreciation will limit the ability of central banks in the region to deepen policies to stimulate aggregate demand, in addition to the fact that the structural conditions accentuate external vulnerability and do not help to spur growth (export structure focused mainly on primary goods and falling trend in productivity).

According to ECLAC, policy space needs to be expanded to tackle the slowdown and contribute to economic growth, with measures in the fiscal and monetary areas, as well as in investment and productivity.

In the fiscal arena, the survey cites the need to reduce tax evasion and illicit financial flows; promote the adoption of taxes related to the digital economy, environment, and public health; and reassess tax expenditures to align them toward productive investment.

In terms of monetary policy, the report calls for promoting economic growth without compromising foreign exchange and pricing stability; while on investment matters and productivity, it is imperative to increase participation by knowledge-intensive sectors in the productive structure through a more active role by public and private investment; reorient investments toward sectors with greater momentum; and adopt stimulus policies that have an impact in terms of innovation, learning and quality jobs.

The second part of the Economic Survey 2019 analyzes the structural changes that have occurred in the international financial system in terms of instruments and agents, subsequent to the global crisis of 2007-2008 from a regional perspective.

The report posits that the bond market has gained relative importance with respect to the banking system. It also shows that levels of concentration, interconnectivity, and pro-cyclicality have intensified. In addition, the level of global debt is generalized and registers record levels (320 percent of GDP), in a context of low growth.

In order to tackle these challenges, the report recommends expanding and standardizing the spectrum of vulnerability indicators. The document likewise advocates advancing toward broader and more homogeneous macro-prudential regulation to encompass not only the formal banking sector but also all financial agents – including the shadow banking system, as well as different instruments.


Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

CRFM – CDEMA sign agreement to enhance disaster management and resilience in fisheries

BELMOPAN, Belize —The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to enhance comprehensive disaster management and climate change resilience in the fisheries and aquaculture sector within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CRFM Executive Director, Milton Haughton, signed the MOU for CRFM while the Executive Director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, signed on behalf of CDEMA.  The signing took place during the tenth general meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN) System, Wednesday, 24 July 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana.

CRFM executive director said: “This MOU was prepared to facilitate enhanced cooperation between the CRFM and CDEMA, recognizing the need for effective and progressive responses to the urgent and growing threats of climate change and associated hazards, as well as the vulnerability of our fisherfolk and fishing communities which constitute a very important part of our food production system.”

 Immediate attention will be given to cooperation for sustained support for the Fisheries Early Warning and Emergency Response (FEWER) ICT Solution that had been spearheaded by the CRFM during 2017-18 in the course of the regional track of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), supported by the Inter-American Development Bank and The Mona Office of Research and Innovation (MORI) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica.  

Other areas of cooperation include joint project initiatives, training, capacity building, and awareness activities, data and information collection and dissemination, and a support mechanism to help CARICOM countries and fishing communities prepare for and manage the threats and risks arising from manmade and natural hazards, including storms and hurricanes. The agreement also addresses post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery support for the restoration of services, infrastructure, and livelihoods, as well as the restoration of the physical and ecological integrity of the affected coastal ecosystems.

In commenting on the signing, the executive director of CDEMA indicated, “This represents CDEMA’s commitment to partnerships with other regional Institutions in an effort to advance resilience.” He expressed enthusiasm that CDEMA would be able to support the hosting infrastructure for the FEWER ICT Solution. Jackson pointed out this was in keeping with CDEMA’s role in advancing a comprehensive programme for multi-hazard early warning systems, as well as serving as a regional hub for warning infrastructure.

FEWER reduces fishers’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change but also allows them to share local ecological knowledge to inform climate-smart fisheries planning and management, decision-making, as well as risk management in the fisheries sector. 

During 2017-18, the CRFM, IDB, and UWI, ICT experts worked with government authorities and fishers in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines to pilot the development of the FEWER. The CRFM-CDEMA partnership is an essential step towards sustainably rolling out FEWER to other countries.

The CRFM’s ministerial council had signaled its support at its 13th regular meeting held this June 2019, in St Kitts and Nevis, for the CRFM’s partnership with CDEMA, which had been developing as both CARICOM inter-governmental agencies mobilized to support to member states in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

In October 2018, the Council approved a protocol on climate change and disaster risk management under the Caribbean community common fisheries policy, for which the CRFM has the implementation lead.

The CRFM has also been working with The Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) and World Bank to introduce risk insurance to protect the fisheries sector against disasters. The Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility (COAST) Parametric insurance policy for the fisheries sector was launched at the beginning of July 2018. 

The policy was developed by CCRIF and the World Bank with support from the government of the United States.  The 17 member states of the CRFM are also members of CDEMA. The Virgin Islands is the only CDEMA member that is not a member of the CRFM.


Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

IICA will implement a differentiated strategy for the Caribbean region to generate substantial agricultural progress

San Jose, May 21, 2019 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will implement a special strategy for the benefit of the agriculture sector in Caribbean countries. Its objective will be to increase the sector’s capacity for climate resilience in the medium term, guarantee food and nutritional security, reduce poverty levels, drive production development, and foster income equality for producers.

A special working group will be responsible for overseeing these efforts. “This proposal is being developed on the explicit premise that the Caribbean region is 34% more vulnerable than other developing countries, from an economic and environmental standpoint. This is largely due to the region’s exposure to natural hazards that lead to disastrous impacts,” remarked Curt Delice, IICA Special Affairs Coordinator for the Caribbean Region.

The primary duty of the committee will be to coordinate IICA’s work with regional forums such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The committee will also promote regional events related to production, health and trade matters.

“The first steps will involve working towards the full establishment of the Global Resilience Center in Dominica, creating an efficient mechanism to attract external resources, increasing engagement with regional integration bodies, as well as collaborating with regional and international entities in order to execute projects and implement regional and national strategic action plans,” added Delice.

Beverly Best, Director of External and Institutional Relations, stated, “although the Caribbean has limited natural resources; low levels of productivity, productive diversity and agricultural investment; as well as deficient infrastructure, countries in the region have tremendous potential for agricultural development.”

“The region has great potential to substitute the importation of processed agricultural products and to drive the vertical integration of the production base of certain goods. It also has the capacity to increase regional trade in produce; strengthen agricultural health and food safety systems; diversify agriculture and the rural economy; as well as delve deeper into technology, innovation and issues related to agro-tourism,” explained Best.

Caribbean countries depend heavily on the tourism sector; however, the need to import most of their food limits their growth. This represents a market opportunity on which rural communities could capitalize.

To this end, IICA is joining forces with the ministries of Agriculture and Trade across the region, as well as with CARICOM and the OECS.


Cooperation actions

This year, IICA is executing USD 4.9 million in the Caribbean region through projects related to infrastructure. It is also executing 10 externally funded projects and developing 14 regional actions through hemispheric programs, focusing on matters related to food safety, import substitution, agrotourism, climate change, climate-smart agriculture, as well as early warning systems for sanitary and phytosanitary risks.

In addition to Delice and Best, Arlington Chesney and Patrick Antoine will also form part of the new committee for differentiated management, as special advisors. The committee will work to ensure that these initiatives generate tangible outcomes, thus enabling Caribbean agriculture to thrive and improving the quality of life of rural populations.

Courtesy: IICA

CARICOM denounces new US moves on Cuba

The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping has denounced moves by the United States to strengthen the decades old trade and economic embargo against Cuba.

In a statement issued following the two-day CARICOM Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting in Grenada, CARICOM said it “concerned by the new measures under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act announced by the Government of the United States of America which would strengthen the US economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba”.

“The Community denounces the application of laws and measures of an extra-territorial nature that are contrary to international law.”

The Helms–Burton Act seeks to impose international sanctions against the Cuban government, to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes.

The Trump administration announced last month that it would end the suspension of the law that allows American citizens, including naturalised Cubans, to sue companies and subsidiaries in Cuba that benefited from private properties that were confiscated by the Cuban government.

It said that the legislation, which was previously suspended by the Obama administration and by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will be fully implemented and enforced.

The move by Washington is seen as a retaliation for Havana’s continued support for President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, where the United States is leading an effort to oust him from power.

Cuba has said the nationalisations of the companies were conducted in full compliance with Cuban and international law and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto (ACRT), Canada, has denounced Washington’s move saying the first impact will be suffered by investors who currently have commercial relations with Cuba and those who intend to do so in the future.

ACRT president Julio Fonseca said the objective of the move is to intimidate, discourage and close doors to the island.

In its statement, CARICOM said it “notes with the greatest concern that the application of these new measures will also have a greater adverse impact on the socio-economic development of Cuba and the well-being of the Cuban People”.

“The Community reiterates its endorsement of the principles of international law as well as its strongly-held view that economic development and stability in the region contribute to international peace and security,” the statement added.

CARICOM Secretary General told the COFCOR meeting that next month, the 15-member grouping will host the Sixth Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and Cuba.

“Cuba has been a long-standing, supportive partner particularly in building the region’s human capital in fields such as public health and sport. Our Community reiterates its call for the lifting of the unwarranted economic embargo and sanctions on Cuba which were strengthened recently,” he added. (CMC)

Courtesy: Barbados Nation

Grenada PM: Climate change is an existential threat for us in the islands

(CNN) Grenada and other Small Island Developing States are on the front line in the war against climate change. Although hurricanes are no stranger to the Caribbean, the overwhelming scientific evidence of how extreme weather conditions are worsening due to global warming shows that we need to take the signals that our Earth is sending us seriously. That evidence can be found in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2018 special report on the effects of global warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius -- and in the devastation left by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the region, in the form of mangled towns, villages, homes and critical infrastructure, wrecked lives, devastated crops and ecosystems, damaged economies and financial markets.

During this year's UN Climate Summit in September, leaders from the Caribbean will be sure to present goals and ideas of how to tackle this crisis. The human cost across the region is too severe and life-changing not to.

Who can forget Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's live updates as Hurricane Maria pounded his home in 2017? "My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding," he posted on Facebook. Hurricane Maria is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters to hit our neighboring islands of the Caribbean.

According to a 2018 Swiss Re report, $92 billion -- nearly half of 2017's total insured cost -- was caused by hurricane damage in the US and the Caribbean. And a 2018 UN report detailing the impact of Irma and Maria showed the ways in which islands suffered after the storms' fury. Among many things, children didn't have schools to go back to and dialysis patients had their treatment disrupted. Affected islands struggled for weeks without electricity and running water, increasing the likelihood for disease.

In the US Virgin Islands, for example, it took nearly four months for power to be restored to 92% of islands' population.

And while damages to the Caribbean's housing and infrastructure sectors remained the highest, many sources of our livelihood -- crops, trees and livestock -- were devastated. We see the plight of our farmers with respect to changes in rainfall patterns-timing, duration and intensity. We know the bountiful shoals of fish that have historically fed us are being decimated by warming waters and acidifying oceans. We see our disappearing coastal landscapes and ecosystems. We are experiencing the devastating economic and social impacts.

Where the international community once talked of urgency, let us now be clear: This is an emergency. So, Caribbean leaders will lead. We will lead on the politics, economics and impacts of climate change, and take our concerns into the halls of power, be that in New York, Washington, London, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow, Delhi or Beijing. We will lead on setting targets that are in line with a safer planet: in line with the IPCC's 1.5 degree Celsius report published last year and the recently published Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

We will lead on creating the frameworks that can incentivize clean transport on our islands, power that is generated from the sun, wind, waves and ecosystems. We will lead in building resilient cities, by educating our people how to ensure their houses can cope with stronger storms, and how to live more sustainable lifestyles. Jamaica and Barbados have already signaled increased ambition, by increasing their energy target from 30% to 50% of emission reduction, and by committing to be a 100% green and carbon neutral island by 2030, respectively. We, in Grenada, with the support of partners like the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Partnership (a way for nations to show their commitment to the Paris Agreement), are putting in place concrete plans to not only implement our NDCs but identify ways to enhance it further.

We feel that the hand of history is on our shoulders. Next year is the year when the Paris Agreement faces its first true test, a year for all countries to step up and deliver very ambitious climate action -- 2020 is also a pivotal year to deliver on the "Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020," which set the "global framework for priority actions on biodiversity," and the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," a "framework of universal and indivisible goals and targets to address a range of global societal challenges" signed by all 193 member states of the UN.

September will be the time for governments to come with a strategy to the UN Climate Summit. This strategy must include a way to peak global emissions by 2020, to avoid overshoot of the 1.5 degree Celsius target, to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Our message to our fellow leaders is simple: come to New York with a plan to raise your target. We already have too much hot air -- that's the problem.

For us in the islands, climate change is indeed an existential threat. Now is a time for cool heads, wise heads, a time to build a better future for this generation and generations to come. There is no other way.

Courtesy: CNN

Statement on US-Caribbean Relations by Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC)

Public Hearing, Washington DC, USA on CBERA/CBTPA

May 14, 2019


The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), under which the United States (U.S.) Government extends unilateral duty free entry into the U.S., on a range of products from CARICOM, expires on 30 September 2020. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) waiver which permits the CBTPA to operate legally under the WTO, expires on 31 December 2019.

Democratic Representative of Alabama, Terri Sewell, introduced in the U.S. Congress in September 2017, a Bill seeking to extend the CBTPA to 30 September 2030. If approved by the U.S. Congress, this legislation would continue to support duty-free access to the U.S. market for a wide range of products from CARICOM.


This statement seeks to support the requests from the CARICOM Governments to seek the extension of the CBERA/CBTPA by another ten years to 2030 bearing in mind that this should include a provision to review areas of the legislation that would create an optimization of the relationship.

Underpinning Considerations for the request

The Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) will be submitting further analyses of the available data within the context of the practical impediments to the trade opportunities that are said to exist. The CAIC proposes that consideration should be given to incorporating a deeper level of discussion and action that takes account of the following:

1) Consideration for the expansion of the beneficiary countries beyond the current eight to include more territories within the “basin”.

2) Consideration for the expansion of the schedule of products given the change in consumption patterns of the US market and the increased diaspora in many US states.

It is also requested that further consideration be given for the expansion, even under UNCPC codes for this to take consideration for the increased output under traditional Agriculture based sectors which have expanded up the value chain and have matured into Agribusinesses that have output that are not listed.

3) Consideration for the inclusion of a chapter to incorporate Caribbean market suppliers who have a niche in Trade in Services and therefore require mechanisms in place for both Modes 3 (commercial presence) and 4 (Temporary Entry of Natural persons). It is recognized that the US has concerns for the breaches arising out of migration and makes the distinction between Mode 4 and the issuance of work permits as two separate matters.

In the area of the temporary entry movement in the Creative sector; an example is that of musicians who go on tour and are restricted, whereas it has been noted that an Artistes revenue mix is on average 84% of earnings whilst on tour.

4) Inclusion of technical and development resources for incorporating Business Continuity Programmes given the vulnerability of the Caribbean to natural disasters and that there exist many outer US territories in the Caribbean Basin

5) Consideration for the inclusion of a private sector representative on the Caribbean – US Trade and Investment Council which will allow for the easy exchange of information and to increase the relations with the Caribbean territories of the US. It is expected that this representative may also be able to stimulate the activity of the Council and thus maintain a level of focus on the opportunities in these relations. This representation would require a level of funding to maintain its sustainable presence, notwithstanding the Governments would continue to maintain their lobbying efforts.

The private sector representative would as well be able to filter practical solutions or at least facilitate other overarching issues such as derisking, blacklisting, and innovation.

6) Consideration for setting up a maritime logistics sub-committee to look at issues surrounding movement within the Caribbean Sea, which affects many states of the US and which are subject to issues of trafficking and coastal erosion. However the increased attention by China, in particular, to capitalize on maritime trade in the region should be managed with our traditional partners first

7) Recognition for the work in renewable energy programming support through the support of the OAS must be acknowledged and the CAIC would ask that further technical support be given to the operations of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE)

 The CAIC reaffirms its commitment to this process and thanks you for the opportunity to make this input.

€30,000 in grants for CARIFORUM firms

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the European Union is accepting proposals from CARIFORUM firms for grants of up to €30,000 the equivalent of approximately $33,000 USD, under their 2nd Call for Proposals for the DIRECT ASSISTANCE GRANT SCHEME (DAGS).   

In the 2018 1st Call for Proposals over €2.1M was awarded to fifty-three (53) CARIFORUM firms that successfully applied for a grant.  Businesses from a range of sectors including agro-processing, manufacturing, tourism, services, wood products, renewable energy, film and tv production, information technology and alcoholic beverages were awarded grants.

“We were encouraged to see the diversity of proposals from companies looking for a grant” shared Damie Sinanan – Manager, Competitiveness and Export Promotion at Caribbean Export.  “This time we have reduced the maximum value of the grants available in an effort to provide more grants to firms and make it more accessible” he continued.

The DAGS is a reimbursement grant funding facility which requires firms to fund their projects upfront and be reimbursed at their completion.  The fund was specifically designed to provide much needed financial assistance to legally registered CARIFORUM firms and individuals that are exporting or have the potential to export their products and services. 

This latest Call for Proposals is open until June 11, 2019 and interested companies are asked to visit the Caribbean Export website at for further information.


Courtesy: Carib Export

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