15th OCT-EU Forum

15th OCT-EU Forum

02/03/2017

The Forum, organised under the aegis of Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, was hosted by Mike Eman, Prime Minister of Aruba as Chair of the OCT Association.

The 15th Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)1- EU Forum took place on 24 February in Aruba.

The annual OCT-EU Forum is the highest level of political dialogue with attendance of Prime Ministers, Premiers, government members and representatives from OCTs and the four Member States to which they are linked: France, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Members of the European Parliament, and representatives from the Outermost regions were also present at this 15th OCT-EU Forum.

The Forum, organised under the aegis of Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, was hosted by Mike Eman, Prime Minister of Aruba as Chair of the OCT Association.

In addition to Commissioner Mimica, who delivered the keynote address of this 15th OCT-EU Forum, Maurice Ponga, Vice President of the European Parliament Committee on Development, and Younous Omarjee, Vice President of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development were among the speakers addressing the audience of the Forum. Rodolphe Alexandre, Chairman of the Conference of the Presidents of the Outermost regions, delivered a video message.

During the Forum, partners reaffirmed their strong commitment to building resilience and sustainability for lasting solutions to complex and common challenges, such as climate change, disaster risk reduction and sustainable energy transition.

In this context, the high-level roundtables which took place in the afternoon focused on two essential themes for the OCT-EU association: climate change and renewable energies. "We will continue to work closely together with you in tackling the threat of climate change and increasing the use of renewable energies" stated Commissioner Mimica.

The signature of a first series of five territorial programming documents financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) took place during the Forum. Commissioner Mimica and high-level representatives of OCTs signed the programming documents for

  • New Caledonia supporting employment and professional inclusion;
  • Saba on renewable energy;
  • Sint Eustatius on energy;
  • Anguilla on education and
  • Turks and Caicos Islands supporting education and vocational training.

Together with the programming document for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, already signed end 2016, there are now six adopted 11th EDF territorial programming documents for a total of about EUR 100 million out of the 16 OCTs receiving funding from the 11th EDF.

The 15th OCT-EU Forum was also the occasion for partners to re-emphasise the special relationship shared between the European Union and OCTs, and their belonging to the "EU Family".

Partners also recognised the importance of regional cooperation through increased and improved exchanges both between OCTs, and between OCTs, ACP countries and EU Outermost Regions and emphasised the OCTs' potential for acting as centres of excellence, and hubs in their region.

OCTs, the Member States to which they are linked and the European Commission committed to engage in more thorough discussions on the OCT-EU relations post 2020 during the upcoming OCT-EU Forum to be held at the beginning of 2018.

In 2017, Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, Premier of Turks and Caicos, will be the chair of the Overseas Countries and territories Association (OCTA).

 

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Participants of the 15th OCT-EU Forum gathered around Commissioner Mimica and Premier Eman

 

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Commissioner Mimica and Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, Premier of Turks and Caicos, after the signature of the programming document of the OCT

 

 

1 Greenland, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Wallis and Futuna Islands, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda.