On Tuesday November 3, 2015, officials from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed a Letter of Intent formalizing their intention to work together in the future to address pressing issues relating to climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency. The signing took place at CDB’s offices in Barbados, and was part of a two-day visit to the island by officials of the EIB, including EIB’s Vice President, Pim Van Ballekom.
Speaking at the signing, Dr. Warren Smith, President of CDB, said that “The Letter speaks to strengthening support for the sustainable economic development of our region and, more specifically, to supporting climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives in Caribbean countries. It, therefore, represents another phase in the strengthening of a long standing partnership and a deepening of cooperation between our two institutions that has produced four loan operations, to date.”
Dr. Smith noted that the Letter of Intent formalizes a relationship between the institutions which began in 2011 when EIB agreed to provide a USD65.3 million Climate Action Line of Credit (CALC) to CDB to be used to finance public or private sector climate action projects, including energy efficiency; renewable energy; transportation; low-carbon technologies, development and innovation; and adaptation. Total commitments to date from that Line of Credit amount to USD35 million, or 54% of the facility, with the funds being used for highway reconstruction; water supply redevelopment; dam rehabilitation and a solar PV plant. It is anticipated that the funds will be fully committed by March 2016.
Mr. Van Ballekom said that the EIB and CDB teams have been cooperating closely to enable investment in projects that reduce carbon emissions and strengthen infrastructure from climatic uncertainties, noting that “Countries here in the Caribbean face serious economic and social challenges that must be addressed alongside building resilience to climate change. Both CBD and the EIB are mainstreaming climate action to ensure that infrastructure is built, or rebuilt, to higher standards.”
The EIB team also visited the island’s top tourist attraction, Harrison’s Cave, later in the day. Harrison’s Cave benefited from financing from CDB in 2006 for the redevelopment of the facilities, utilizing resources provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The upgrade of the facility included improved parking, new restaurant facilities, as well as a souvenir shop.