Premier and Minister of Finance, Donaldson Romeo, signed the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Programming Document for Montserrat, which includes the Financing Agreement for 18.4 million Euros, during the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA) meeting of the European Union Ministerial Conference in Brussels.
The Financing Agreement for the EDF 11 Fund was signed on February 21 by the premier with the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica. This was followed by the signing of the European Development Fund (EDF) Programming Document for Montserrat, at the annual European Union Overseas Countries and Territories (EU-OCT) Forum on Friday, February 23, which was the main event for the OCTA Ministerial Conference. The EDF Programming Document for Montserrat was signed by the Premier Romeo and the Head of Unit of the European Commission, Mr. Denis Salord.
The signing of the financing agreement was the culmination of nearly 18 months of work within the Ministry of Finance and will see significant financial benefits to Montserrat in 2018 to 2019, with the first tranche of monies expected early in the next Financial Year which begins April 2018.
The 11th EDF will support the transition towards sustainable economic development and it will support renewable energy and other backbone infrastructure developments in areas crucial to address accessibility constraints on the island. The programme is also expected to enhance Montserrat’s tourism offer, while also taking steps to improve the business environment and encourage more inclusive private-sector development.
The programme will contribute to the following specific objectives, which will be further developed into results areas and activities in the following section:
- A significant switch in the use of energy from fossil fuels to renewables, incorporating both increased energy efficiency and a reliable electricity supply.
- Endorsement and initial implementation of a Tourism Strategy, including tourism products and marketing of eco-tourism.
Public sector investment and infrastructure provision improvements, with a focus on addressing accessibility constraints at sea.
- The approved budget support component will be EUR 17,400,000, with complementary support of EUR 1,000,000. The complementary support includes a provision of EUR 920,000 for technical assistance and capacity building to support Montserrat in meeting the objectives of the programme. In addition to this a further EUR 80,000, will be equally split for communication & visibility and for monitoring & evaluation over the next 48 months.
Apart from the signing of the financing agreement, the Conference also included trilateral meetings which allowed the attendees to discuss progress on the EDF programmes in Montserrat and the wider Caribbean.
The Montserrat delegation included Premier, Donaldson Romeo; Financial Secretary, Colin Owen; Montserrat Government UK Office Representative, Janice Panton (MBE), and Project Officer in the Ministry of Finance, Alverna Weekes who attended the EDF 11th Thematic Workshop and the OCTA Ministerial Meeting. The OCTA Ministerial Meeting covered the Annual Report, Treasurers Report, presentation and key discussions of the report on post-2020, EDF 10 Thematic Report, EDF 11 programming, regional programmes, presentation, adoption and signing of political declaration and administrative resolutions.
Additionally, the delegation attended an ‘Oceans’ event which discussed the Global Agenda for oceans, ocean strategies, sustainable blue growth initiatives and potential for blue growth which was followed by a panel question and answer session.
The EDF was created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome and launched in 1959. It is the EU’s main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs).