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Efforts to more closely integrate the French Caribbean with the rest of the region were reviewed at the International Summit of the INTERREG IV Caribbean program in Puerto Rico recently.

The program aims to foster closer ties between the Caribbean linguistic divide by generating joint local and regional initiatives, as well as strengthening trans-border, transnational and intra-regional cooperation.

The Regional Council of Guadeloupe, which manages the Caribbean-wide INTERREG IV program, was represented at the meeting alongside its partner regional councils from Martinique and French Guyana, and officials from St. Martin.

Speaking through an interpreter, President of the Management Authority for the INTERREG programme, Mrs. Josette BOREL- LINCERTIN explained the programme, “We selected a few projects. Some projects were economic, health, culture, structuring projects, legal cooperation to be implemented between the French islands and the other Caribbean regions and today, we are now preparing for the future that we are now putting the foundations stones for us to select the projects for the 2014 programming session.”

Mrs. Borel-Lincertin said they were meeting in Puerto Rico because the issues were similar to those in Guadeloupe. It was also an opportunity to get out of the French territories and in addition, they were currently involved in research projects with the scientists of Puerto Rico, Martinique and Guadeloupe on tsunamis since both regions can suffer from earthquakes and they may have to manage a tsunami together. She concluded that it was these kinds of issues that will enable them to pool together skills and abilities that they can better manage natural disasters.

Also participating at the international summit were representatives of many regional organizations, including CARICOM (Caribbean Community), the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and the ACS (Association of Caribbean States).
The INTERREG program aims to make a major contribution to the sustainable development of the greater Caribbean region and, by so doing, further integrate the French Overseas Countries and Territories with other island nations and entities.

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