The European Union (EU) currently stands as the largest supporter of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia. In 1979, the same year as St. Lucia’s independence, a formal relationship between the two entities was established. The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme articulates the programming framework that will facilitate St. Lucia-EU co-operation from 2014 to 2020. The EDF’s involvement with St. Lucia focuses on employment generation via private sector development.
The EU’s Humanitarian Aid Department, ECHO, was present when St. Lucia needed aid most. After Hurricane Tomas in 2010, ECHO responded with emergency and post-emergency aid to assist with restoring the island. In July 2011, the U.S. stepped in and St. Lucia received $17 million from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) to build it’s natural climate resilience to gain inclusion from the Caribbean Regional Program. Vulnerable, under-developed countries are normally given top priority by the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund, and this trend has come to include this small island of St. Lucia.
In January 2014 after a Christmas Eve storm, Britain gave St. Lucia 1 million Eastern Caribbean dollars for vital emergency humanitarian aid support to help with mass amounts of fatalities and wreckage. In March, India donated $500,000 of humanitarian aid to St. Lucia to help with the damage left behind from the Christmas Eve rains. These efforts totaled about $100 million dollars — a significant amount of aid for the recovering island nation.
Later that year, St. Lucia was one of the 10 Eastern Caribbean islands to receive a portion of the €80 million in development co-operation aid. In 2016, the main focus of the EU in St. Lucia was the construction of a new hospital, for which they contributed €37 million.
The goal of EU co-operation is to enhance the quality of life of the people in the beneficiary countries through “targeted and sustainable programmes.” St. Lucia is one of the fortunate countries to be a part of the EU agenda and to really benefit from their efforts. Humanitarian aid to St. Lucia may not be given by many, but it’s at least consistent by one.
– Tara Jackson