As follow-up to President Biden and Vice President Harris’s commitments in their meeting with Caribbean leaders at the Summit of the Americas in June 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration is partnering with Caribbean nations to promote energy security, access to finance, and food security in the Caribbean—three areas that Caribbean leaders identified as their top priorities. President Biden and Vice President Harris agreed at the Summit to establish three High-Level Action Committees, each co-chaired by Caribbean and U.S. representatives to develop concrete, near-term solutions to these three pressing challenges in the region.
Co-chaired by the United States, CARICOM member states, and the Dominican Republic, the Action Committees have held nearly a dozen technical and high-level meetings since June to formulate action plans.
Vice President Harris will meet with Caribbean leaders on September 15, 2022—President Chan Santokhi of Suriname, chair of CARICOM; Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, co-chair of the finance committee; President Dr. Irfaan Ali of Guyana, co-chair of the food security committee; Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, co-chair of the energy security committee; and President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic—to review the progress they have made. Taken together, integrated efforts under the Joint Action Plans will leverage high-level engagement, U.S. technical assistance and support, U.S. capacity building and training programs, collaborative working groups, regional conferences, and public-private partnerships to strengthen energy security, improve access to finance, and enhance food security in the Caribbean.
Many of these actions build on and will accelerate implementation of the U.S.-Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC 2030), an initiative that Vice President Harris launched at the Summit of the Americas to strengthen energy security and climate adaptation in the region.
A summary of key actions follows.
Actions to Promote Energy Security:
- The U.S. government will send a multi-agency delegation to the region in October 2022 to develop technical assistance packages and prepare viable energy projects that are attractive to investors.
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will host an energy procurement orientation visit for Caribbean officials in October 2022 to share best practices with key stakeholders and support the region’s energy infrastructure development goals.
- The U.S. Departments of Commerce and State will host a Caribbean regional trade mission as well as business conferences and roundtables in October 2022 to facilitate executive-level matchmaking between project developers, technology providers, and government officials.
Actions to Promote Access to Finance:
- During Fall 2022, the Administration will continue work to expand access to U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) financing for private sector-led projects in the Caribbean.
- The U.S. Treasury Department will intensify its engagement with Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) in Fall 2022 in an effort to expand access to development finance for Caribbean countries, including by exploring temporary access to World Bank Group (WBG) resources for climate vulnerable International Bank for Reconstruction and Development graduates following extreme events, exploring options to expand the use of MDB debt deferment clauses, and launching negotiations to double the capital for the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Invest).
- The U.S. Treasury Department will explore U.S. membership in the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), including through consultations with the U.S. Congress and discussions with the Office of Management and Budget and consistent with U.S. standards for membership in multilateral development banks, in Fall 2022.
- The U.S. government will elevate engagement with Caribbean nations to improve access to correspondent banking, including by convening a correspondent banking working group in Fall 2022, reestablishing the U.S.-Caribbean Public-Private Bank Dialogue in late 2022/early 2023, and helping Caribbean nations establish a single bank to consolidate cross-border flows across the region.
Actions to Promote Food Security:
The following near-term actions will be carried out under the new Zero Hunger Caribbean Plan. Conversations will continue regarding additional work in the medium- to long-term under the Zero Hunger Caribbean Plan.
- As follow-up to commitments at the Summit of the Americas, the U.S. Government is providing the Caribbean with $28 million in assistance to address urgent food security needs.
- This fall, USAID will deploy five advisors to the Caribbean region. Consultants will be mobilized in the following areas: efficient use of fertilizer; biofertilizer production; nutrient management; crop insurance feasibility; and to develop an operational logistics and supply chain model to streamline intraregional trade.
- In response to feedback from Caribbean interlocutors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting three capacity building training sessions to promote pesticide management and strengthen food security.
- USAID launched a project in August 2022 and for the next five years will work with Caribbean officials to address non-tariff barriers that restrict the movement of food and exacerbate food insecurity in the region.
- USAID will launch a climate adaptation project to incorporate climate smart technology into food production systems on/about December 2022.
- USAID is actively collaborating with CARICOM and the Dominican Republic to develop the medium- and long-term action plan that will guide ongoing efforts to enhance food security in the region.