The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) signed in Guyana, this week, agreements that will see countries of the eastern and southern Caribbean benefiting from US$165 million in development assistance.
An estimated US$89 million will target the reduction of youth involvement in crime and violence in target communities, while US$52 million is designated to achieving epidemic control of HIV/AIDS among key populations, and $31 million will go towards reducing the risks to human and natural assets resulting from climate vulnerability.
CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission Director, Christopher Cushing, initialed the five-year Development Objective Agreements (DOAGs) at the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana.
US Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway, who was among several dignitaries witnessing the signing, said the initiatives funded under the agreements would improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable groups, including youth and socially marginalized populations.
“Our success over the years has been possible largely due to the support of our partners, without whom implementation would not be possible. CARICOM, by virtue of its commitment to improving the economic, social, cultural and technological advancement of Caribbean people remains a beacon in this regard,” he said.
Ambassador La Rocque said the agreements will render assistance in areas that have been identified as critical to the well-being of CARICOM citizens.
“Combating the challenges posed by climate change, HIV/AIDS, and crime and violence, with reference to youth participation, is right at the forefront of the issues facing our Community today,” he said as he identified the areas.
The signing spearheads USAID’s 2015-2019 Regional Development Cooperation Strategy that covers Youth, HIV/AIDS and Climate Change programming in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.