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International Partnerships

Aruba is a Dutch Overseas Country and Territory (OCT) located in the southern [node:27:link]{Caribbean}. Within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba has country status alongside the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. While the Netherlands is responsible for Aruba’s external affairs, the country is a parliamentary democracy with control over its internal affairs, including aviation, customs, communications and immigration.

Aruba’s economy is largely built on the tourism industry, offshore financial services, oil refinement and transhipment industries. A more environmentally-friendly economy and wider use of sustainable energy is currently being promoted by Aruba’s government.

As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Aruba faces challenges including remoteness from markets, geographical isolation, vulnerability to external shocks, an inability to rely on economies of scale and susceptibility to the uncertainty and unpredictability of climate change.

Aruba is technically and officially associated to the EU through its OCT status. According to the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, the purpose of the association between the EU and the OCTs is “to promote the economic and social development of the countries and territories and to establish close economic relations between them and the Union as a whole”.

We currently provide development support to Aruba under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020 with an indicative amount of €13 million. Education, research and innovation in sustainable development and renewable energy are areas at the forefront for receiving development funding.

The Government of Aruba prioritises the research and innovation agenda to support the diversification of the country’s economy and decrease its vulnerability to external shocks. It has set an ambitious goal of becoming 100% energy sustainable by 2020 as outlined in ‘The Green Gateway - Economic Vision and Policy 2011–2013’. To achieve this national goal, the government is seeking to create a ‘sustainable island solutions through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (SISSTEM)’ faculty at the University of Aruba with the help of the KU Leuven in Belgium.

Our programmes

Under the framework of the 11th EDF-OCT, we partner with Aruba on the following programmes.

Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) thematic programme

With an indicative amount of €16-18 million, our focus under this programme is the sustainable use of natural resources, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable energy. The objective is to facilitate and promote the sustainable management of the OCTs’ natural resources. OCTs will be given the necessary tools and information to be able to address climate change, to recognise the specific impact that this global challenge has on OCTs. Support will also go to helping to reduce the OCT’s dependence on fossil fuels, promoting sustainable development of their energy production.

Caribbean regional programme

With an indicative amount of €40 million, our focus areas within this programme include:

  • resilience
  • sustainable energy
  • marine biodiversity

Regarding sustainable energy, the programme aims to provide solutions with a regional scope. The proposed programme will also address the degradation of the coastal-marine ecosystem services through effective management and improve resilience, including by engaging neighbouring countries in specific actions aiming to protect their shared marine environment. Under the horizontal resilience component, we focus activities on risk insurance and supporting pilot adaptation projects, including ‘Build Back Better’.