GOSIER, Guadeloupe – The CARIFORTS – a creation of a network of forts and fortifications of the Caribbean in partnership with St. Kitts, Antigua, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico and St Eustatius – is among the newly selected projects to be completed through European funding.

The original charter of the member nations for the CARIFORTS project intended the program to be a spotlight on the “shared heritage” of the countries to work together for tourism promotion to reflect the history and pride of the fortifications of each nation.
More than 100 submitted projects answered the call for expressions of interest (MAI) in November 2016, a press release stated. The thematic priorities included competitiveness, innovation, employment, economic diversification, development of a business flow in the region; strengthening capacities to respond to natural hazards; protection and enhancement of the natural and cultural environment; concerted response to public health issues; support for renewable energy development initiatives; strengthening of human capital (training, mobility, language learning).

St. Kitts and Nevis, OECS, LIAT, UWI, Antigua, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands presented to the Interreg Caraïbes Programme Selection Committee May 30-31 in Guadeloupe.

The programme is cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support “cooperative actions addressing common regional challenges in order to strengthen the territorial and sustainable economic development of the Caribbean region,” according to a press release. The release further states that the Guadeloupe region is the managing authority for this fund, which is intended to support projects involving players from the French “Outermost regions” (RUP) of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Saint Martin, in partnership with organizations in the Caribbean area representing nearly 40 countries and overseas territories (OCTs).”

The monitoring committee validated the strategic decisions to ensure the proper functioning of the Interreg programme, which consisted of the representatives of the Regional Council of Guadeloupe assisted by the Joint Secretariat, the Territorial Communities of French Guiana and Martinique, the Community of Saint Martin, the prefectures, the network of embassies in the area, the European Commission, representatives of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the release states.
The second selection committee for the Interreg Caribbean Program 2014-2020 also chose the following regional projects:

TEECA: Set up a trade facilitation team and improve knowledge on existing financing solutions in the Caribbean area in partnership with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS);

PAIRE: Develop an action plan to facilitate cooperation between the Caribbean air transport operators in partnership with Antigua, Dominica, St Maarten and LIAT;

OSAIN: To identify and promote the medicinal plants of the Caribbean in partnership with Belize, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica and Puerto Rico;

RECAVAC: Supporting cocoa farmers in partnership with Haiti

RADAR: Installation of a weather radar system in St Maarten;

PREST: Creation of an earth/sea geophysical observatory in partnership with Haiti, Cuba and the University of the West Indies;

CARI’MAM: Networking of marine protected areas dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals in the Greater Caribbean in partnership with Bonaire, Cuba, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands;

OSATOURC: Creation of an international network of popular and traditional music of the Caribbean, in partnership with Cuba, Dominica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago;

CARIBIX: Develop Internet exchange points in the Caribbean in partnership with St Maarten and Trinidad;

CAP 3D: 3D creative mobility project in partnership with the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

The total budget of the Interreg Caraibes Program 2014/2020 is €85.7 million. The next selection committee will meet in September 2017 to study new projects.