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Friday, 29 May 2015

Caribbean looks to France as key partner in climate financing

Caribbean leaders are hoping that France can demonstrate its commitment to assisting their adaptation efforts by re-joining the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves raised the issue of France’s CDB membership with French President Francois Hollande during his visit to the French Caribbean island of Martinique. Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris, who is chair of the CDB’s Board of Governors, the bank’s highest policy making body said that building resilience to climate change and natural disasters remains among the issues that “need critical attention in the context of reshaping a credible agenda for Caribbean development (…) I think it will enhance France’s own involvement in the region but beyond the region as a major country interested in bringing justice to small island developing states, many of which are found in the Caribbean region.” Established in 1969, the CDB is the premier regional financial institution, contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the Caribbean, promoting economic cooperation and integration among regional countries. 19 regional member countries are allowed to borrow funds from the CDB and also have voting rights, 15 are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Canada, China, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom all enjoy voting rights but, like Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela, they are not entitled to borrow funds from the bank. France was once a non-regional member, but withdrew its membership a decade ago.