CIF and Global Gateway: Team Europe launches technical assistance to boost water, sanitation, solid waste, flood protection and clean oceans projects in the Caribbean in partnership with EIB

November 15, 2023

A new technical assistance facility for the Caribbean Sustainable Water Management and Clean Oceans programme was launched in October. The facility, which is funded by an €8.5 million grant from the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) will provide specialist technical support for the identification, preparation and implementation of water, sanitation, solid waste, flood protection and clean oceans projects in 15 countries in the Caribbean. It will help projects comply with high environmental and social standards, contribute to gender equality and promote climate resilience. The EIB is offering financial support for selected projects through a €150 million programme loan. The facility will help implement the Global Gateway Investment Agenda launched at the EU-CELAC Summit in July 2023.

European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen said, “Following the EU-CELAC Summit in July, the Global Gateway Investment Agenda will support the region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Caribbean is one of regions most vulnerable to climate change, as I could witness during my visit last year. This announcement underscores the importance of our partnership with the Caribbean through Global Gateway: together we are helping families, enterprises and governments take steps to adapt to a changing world and deliver help – for critical services such as water – wherever and whenever they need it the most.”

“EIB Global is committed to addressing water challenges and promoting climate resilience and adaptation around the world, and especially in the Caribbean, which is disproportionately affected by climate change impacts. Sustainable water management leads to better health for both people and the planet, as well as to stronger economies and more resilient communities,” said EIB Vice-President Ricardo Mourinho Félix.

The Caribbean is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate-change-related extreme weather events and sea level rises and Caribbean voices are some of the strongest in the call for climate action. More violent storms, rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall are increasing the pressure on both water infrastructure and the surrounding seas. The water sector in the Caribbean is challenged by aging equipment and pipes, high water losses, inadequate wastewater treatment capacity and lack of storage capacity. Meanwhile, the marine ecosystem and coastal economy and communities are threatened by warmer seas, ocean acidification and storm surges.

The technical assistance funded by the European Union’s Caribbean Investment Facility will be delivered by a consortium of COWI, EGIS, HR Wallingford and NOWAL, supervised by the EIB, and operating out of Barbados but across the region. Specialist technical expertise and advice will ensure high-impact, sustainable projects providing, for example, more reliable and efficient water supply, increased access to clean water, improved stormwater drainage management and flood protection as well as better wastewater and solid waste collection and treatment.

The launch was announced within the framework of the 19th High-Level Forum for Caribbean Ministers Responsible for Water during the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Annual Conference taking place from 23 to 27 October in Guyana.