Today the Biden administration launched the “Small and Less Populous Island Economies (SALPIE) Initiative,” an economic cooperation framework designed to strengthen U.S. collaboration with island countries and territories in the Caribbean, North Atlantic, and Pacific regions. 

The SALPIE Initiative signals the U.S. government’s prioritization of cooperation with these economies to counter COVID-19 economic challenges, promote economic recovery, respond to the climate crisis, and advance longer-term shared interests.  Pandemic-related economic disruptions have caused an unprecedented global crisis, and import and tourism-dependent island economies have not been spared.  These same island communities are also among the most vulnerable to climate change; their economic resilience is increasingly threatened by more frequent and severe storms, rising sea levels, and warming ocean temperatures.

SALPIE partners are geographically diverse island economies that face similar challenges.  Most have populations under 1 million, have been heavily impacted by COVID-related economic disruptions, and are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change.  Many do not qualify for concessional foreign assistance programs due to their higher income levels per capita.  Re-focusing our economic relationships with these partners will advance shared interests and promote economic recovery and resilience. 

The Initiative builds on programming designed to elevate our economic cooperation to provide a framework for the United States to enhance bilateral, regional, and multilateral collaboration in SALPIE regions.  Beyond addressing more immediate economic and humanitarian consequences of the pandemic and climate change, the U.S. government welcomes the opportunity to partner with these economies to advance important long-term objectives, including strengthening bilateral and regional economic ties, countering predatory investment practices by malign actors, and enhancing collaboration within international organizations.  

The United States values the strong trade and investment ties we have with SALPIE and views this as an opportune time to reaffirm and reinvest in the importance of those relationships as we work together on economic recovery efforts.  While not an all-inclusive inventory of U.S. cooperation with this set of economies, the SALPIE Initiative brings 29 U.S. departments and agencies together to coordinate ongoing and future engagements in the following areas:

  • Economic Growth:  Programs that support generating rapid, meaningful, sustained, inclusive, and broad-based economic growth.
  • Climate/Sustainable Energy/Environment:  Programs that support climate initiatives, sustainable energy development, natural disaster response and resilience, and other critical environmental and sustainability issues.
  • Development Finance:  Programs in partnership with the private sector that leverage loans and/or other credit guarantees to finance projects.
  • Humanitarian/Social:  Programs that directly support or promote capacity building to improve humanitarian and social conditions.
  • Diplomatic/Educational/Cultural:  Programs with an economic focus that foster relationship building and enhance bilateral cooperation.
  • Political/Security:  Programs aimed at establishing the conditions and capacity necessary for sustainable economic growth by promoting peace, security, stability, and sound democratic institutions and processes.


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