USAID will continue to support the growth of the economies of the countries of the Eastern Caribbean, but the goal will be to increase the ability of youth to participate in emerging market employment opportunities, enhance their healthy lifestyles, obtain quality education and training, thereby reducing the allure of involvement in drug trafficking and crime by youth. The shift in program focus has already begun on a pilot project basis in several OECS countries and has a particular emphasis on youth who are at risk of dropping out from being productive assets to society by empowering them to move into the workforce through engagement and preparation. These new initiative will seek the private sector's active involvement in curriculum-building relative to the demands of the labor market thereby improving the opportunities for trained youth to successfully enter the job market or create their own sustainable businesses, and ultimately contribute to economic growth and regional security.
USAID climate change support for the region will complement overlapping initiatives it previously supported under its biodiversity support to the region. It will focus its resources at least in the first two years of the strategy on adaptation measures in the six OECS countries and Barbados with the possibility for tackling issues related to energy in future years. Based on a recent analysis of regional needs supported by two broad stakeholder workshops held in St. Lucia and Barbados, two critical areas have been identified as requiring special attention. These are coastal zone management and resilience and freshwater resources management. USAID will therefore fund adaptation measures in these areas over the life of the strategy. These issues have been identified as priorities by national governments in the Eastern Caribbean, by regional organizations, and by other donors. Technical assistance support will be provided to relevant government agencies to ensure that climate change is better integrated into national development planning. The private sector, non-governmental organizations, and local communities will be integrated into the process to ensure they are prepared for and able to adapt to the impact of climate change. The ability of small, vulnerable island states to address these challenges through appropriate adaptive actions will prove much more cost effective than dealing with later environmental damage. Raising awareness of climate change and building local capacity to respond to its effects is vital to the long-term viability of small island communities.
Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI)
USAID expects to use funding from the new Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to augment its youth-related activities, especially in the areas of remedial education program and juvenile justice. The CBSI will advance and reinforce the efforts already underway to further secure the Caribbean region through improved cooperative relationships by substantially reducing illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security and promote social justice.
Last updated: May 10, 2013