The LACIF technical assistance conducted a monitoring visit to the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic
January 12, 2024

The European Union is investing more than EUR 52 million in the country through LACIF, and thus leveraging an investment that exceeds EUR 1 billion.

The experts of the LACIF technical assistance visited the Dominican Republic in December 2023 to monitor and analyze the progress of projects implemented in the country. LACIF has a broad portfolio of projects in the Dominican Republic, covering sectors such water supply and sanitation, post-disaster reconstruction, health or urban public transportation.

The Caribbean country, located on the island of Hispaniola, is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, including tropical storms and hurricanes, which cause great economic and human losses every year. Its economy, despite being the largest in Central America and the Caribbean, is mainly based on tourism, and the movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which lasted for a year and a half in the Dominican Republic, had strong economic, health and social repercussions. All these determining factors for the development of the country are taken into account in the design and implementation of LACIF projects.

The technical assistance team was received by representatives of the national administration, including the Ministries of Health, Tourism, Economy, Culture and Housing which are involved in the project steering committees. The establishment of such committees is a practice adopted by several projects in the country and which consists of regular meetings among all institutions and implementing partners to monitor the progress of activities, promoting the involvement of all actors, building trust and working towards a common goal. The commitment to collaborative work is one of the keys to the success of Dominican projects.

The experts had the opportunity to visit the bilateral projects and experience their progress first-hand. The first stop was at the Dr. Artur Delfilló National Public Health Laboratory, one of the most important components of the project "Support for the health, social and economic response to the crisis related to COVID-19". The team analyzed the expansion plan for the work spaces that receive biological samples from all over the country and the construction of a new warehouse.

They were also in the northern area of Santo Domingo where the integrated tourism and urban development program for the colonial city is carried out and which improves both public areas and private homes, revitalizing the historical area of the capital. On the one hand, roads are being conditioned and while some streets are paved, others are adapted for pedestrian use. The program contains an urban electromobility pilot project that finances the acquisition of 5 electric minibuses and their e-chargers. These buses will cover a 12km route through the colonial city that will take only 17 minutes during rush hours, facilitating mobility for residents. Furthermore, houses in poor conditions are rehabilitated: almost 15% of the colonial city homes do not have access to drinking water and 1 in 10 homes has zinc roofs. The program repairs and builds walls, floors, roofs, doors and windows, applying thermal insulation and creating bathrooms to improve the living conditions of the residents of Santo Domingo.

The experts also witnessed the first results of the program to support sustainable urban mobility in the capital, which finances better infrastructure and larger capacity metro carriages. Likewise, the metro station that connects the city's two metro lines will be expanded, avoiding its congestion.

The team also traveled to San Francisco de Macorís, in the northern province of Duarte, where they visited Barrio Azul, a settlement located on the banks of the Jaya River which suffers significant flooding during the rainy season. Many of the Barrio Azul homes are precarious and not prepared to deal with the natural disasters that strike the island, such as hurricanes. The Proresilencia project will relocate the neighborhood and move it away from the riverbed, build more resilient homes and carry out works in the riverbed to minimize flooding.

Moreover, several of these projects stand out for their commitment to Dominican women: the urban development project prioritizes single mothers and female heads of households in its housing rehabilitation component, and all new jobs created by the urban mobility program, such as subway drivers and ticket clerks, are carried out by women.