Call for Evidence: UK program to support nature

Call for Evidence: UK program to support nature

The Call for Evidence will look to further understand how environmental outcomes are delivered through existing spending on biodiversity and conservation, and consider whether spending is effective. This includes looking at options for future funding streams to replace existing EU schemes, such as the Voluntary Scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Overseas Territories of the European Union (BEST). Read more

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Tourism Workshop – Joao Jessop, Wallis & Futuna Representative

Tourism Workshop – Joao Jessop, Wallis & Futuna Representative

As an isolated OCT territory, Wallis and Futuna faces specific individual challenges in innovating in the tourist sector, said country representative, Joao Jessop.

The island has limited sea freight transportation, it has a very low online presence, a very limited tourism offer and lodging capacity and high emigration. In addition, tourism is to some seen as a threat to the local population and faces stiff competition from other Pacific destinations. The impact of human activities on the environment such as water quality and the effects of climate change are also a major consideration in any future tourism development.

Yet, it has a  has a strong cultural identity

Some of the measures being taken to innovate in the sector are:

Hiring a project chief (in process)

Defining a common tourism project

Defining benchmarks for tourist etc.

Working on the visibility of the destination

Creating a website on the destination

Creating documents about W&F

Creating a tourist office,

Making of every actor, an ambassador or an host

Continuing with development projects of tourist sites.

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Core Innovation team since 2014

Core Innovation team since 2014

Anguilla’s thematic workshop “Innovation for Tourism Growth” was great opportunity to work again with Sherma Hodge, Innovation Manager from Anguilla with whom cooperation started nearly five years ago. Jude Huston, Innovation Director of Sint Maarten was another member of the initial core innovation team. So glad working  together again.

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Innovation for growth in tourism sector – OCTA Innovation Workshop, 11-12 October, Anguilla

Innovation for growth in tourism sector – OCTA Innovation Workshop, 11-12 October, Anguilla

Innovation and creativity in the tourism sector can make the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories more competitive in the international market and more resilient to destructive weather phenomena such as hurricanes. It is theme of a two-day workshop in Anguilla, 11-12 October organised by OCTA Innovation and hosted by the Government of Anguilla.

“Island destinations that have identified and implemented innovative solutions, creative attractions and visitor services tend to be more successful in securing constant growth and overcoming geopolitical issues and natural disasters,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, OCTA Innovation’s Team Leader. “Time has come ask the right questions and find new answers to how OCT governments can best foster innovation in tourism. OCTs should not be copycats for other countries’ innovation policies; OCTs need to find their own way.”

The event’s organisation has been guided by the advice of Mr. Victor Banks, Hon. Chief Minister, Government of Anguilla and Mrs Tracy Knight, OCTA Vice-President of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA). Mr Bren Romney, Innovation Manger in Anguilla and his team have also been instrumental in its preparation.

A focus will be innovative individual attractions and accommodation in OCTs to enhance the visitor experience. The introduction of the innovations in digital technology to the sector have the potential to attract the expanding millennial market.

Renowned tourism experts Anne-Mette Hjalager and James MacGregor and innovation expert, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck will lead the debate. The ambition is to put forward innovative tourism initiatives which at the same time safeguard natural resources and enable the OCTs to be resilient to forces that can reduce visitor arrivals. They include hurricanes and sea level rise caused by global warming.

The workshop also aims is to give rise to innovation activities, methodologies and techniques that will be attractive to both OCTs’ current source markets as well as attracting new market segments. “Collaboratively we will re-think the OCT innovation policies portfolios. We will critically and creatively address the ways that OCT governments can take on the most efficient way the advantages of the unique potentials in the OCTs’,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.

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Mangroves & James Kairo VUB fellowship

Mangroves & James Kairo VUB fellowship

Mangroves are the epitome of life. They harbour species and life forms that cannot be found elsewhere. But above all they are the life support of communities around the world.

Mangroves are rapidly degrading and disappearing around the world. This is of serious concern to Dr James Kairo, who has been put forward as a VUB Fellow (VUB – Vrije Universteit Brussel – Free University of Brussels)  in recognition of his unique work studying and protecting mangroves. “He is one of the most versatile and productive people I have met,” says Professor Nico Koedam.

“This award shows that no matter where you come from, you can make a difference if you fight
for local communities and local environments.” James Kairo. Read more about  VUB & James

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Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

OCTA Innovation under leadership of Mr Milan Jezic von Gesseneck (left on the photo) has developed into an innovation think tank committed to best outcomes in island states in the Atlantic and South Pacific. With innovation as the engine of sustainable development, Milan has lead developing innovation, including a new concept in learning, blended education. From his experience of working in developing countries, he developed a learning methodology that brings together most effortless in-job education, with structured distance learning enabling the students on minimal face to face support (often not available on the islands) to gain from the most advanced education tools and gain valuable qualifications.

In the summer of 2017 University of Aruba and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (University of Leuven) signed a 5-year partnership agreement for the Green Faculty at the University of Aruba. Under leadership of Mr Glenn Thodé (middle on the photo) the Green Faculty encapsulates an academic program focused on research in the field of sustainability, and application of new technologies related to green, renewable energy, in combination with economic and social sciences. The Green Faculty is a major leap forward for all region. By welcoming high-level experts and academic staff, the Green Faculty will, no doubt become the hotbed of learning in the Caribbean. Great work Glenn!

From economic hit-man to protector. Emerging from the world of hard, imperial economics where power is unscrupulously used to further interest of global finance, Mr John Perkins (right on the photo) has been reborn into one of the strongest protectors of natural life and resources. Advising small countries and organizations that protect resources and support economics that respects both environment and societal needs, John is using his economic knowledge and commitment to sustainable and circular economy. We love this work.

On the first sight these three approaches are unrelated. But they form the big picture of economic and societal prosperity in the Overseas Countries and Territories, the Three Pillars.

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Our Ocean EU ACP

Our Ocean EU ACP

Our Ocean‘ Conference of the European Union and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states reaffirmed the support to the implementation of SDG 14 and have stressed the commitment to an ambitious, long-term vision of protection, valorisation, and sustainable use of our oceans, as well as to sustainable blue growth. access, use, and management of vital marine resources, Confirmed needs and commitment to strengthen ocean governance worldwide, reduce pressure on the oceans, improve ocean research and data; and to reinforce actions for sustainable inclusive growth of the blue economy for the benefit of all. Read  & read more

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Kedell Worboys MBE – preserving St Helena’s pristine environment

Kedell Worboys MBE – preserving St Helena’s pristine environment


Mrs Kedell Worboys MBE, representative of the Government of St Helena in the United Kingdom and member of the Executive Committee of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA), is committed to protecting St Helena’s environment and its rich fauna, flora and marine life.

As former President of OCTA Executive Committee, she chaired in February 2016 a Climate Change workshop in Brussels where she strongly put the case for preserving the OCTs’ unique biodiversity and pristine environment for the benefit of St Helena’s sustainable tourism development. 


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EU relations with  independent countries of the Caribbean

EU relations with independent countries of the Caribbean

The EU has historically maintained strong relations with the Caribbean. This stems in large part from the colonial presence of European countries in the region; many are still present through Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

The EU’s relations with the 16 independent Caribbean countries are shaped by various overlapping institutional frameworks, governing political relations, trade and development.

The 16 are members of the Cotonou Agreement (2000-2020) – the EU’s partnership agreement with  a group of 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The related European Development Fund (EDF) – revised every five years – provides national and regional development funding for ACPs. The current EUR 346 million regional envelope for the Caribbean under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020) prioritises: regional economic cooperation and integration; adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, environmental disaster management and renewable energy promotion and security and crime prevention across the region.

It is complemented by the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), covering trade related issues and the 2012 Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy, dealing with political issues.

The EU-CARIFORUM EPA is a pioneering agreement in the international trading system.Through the EPA, the two regions aim to build on their long-established economic ties to foster growth, jobs and development in the Caribbean.

The 2012 Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy is a structured framework for broader and deeper dialogue and cooperation, strengthening the political dimension of the relationship alongside the more traditional existing trade and development aspects. It intensifies cooperation in a number of core areas of mutual interest: regional integration, reconstruction of Haiti, climate change and natural disasters, crime and security and joint action in multilateral fora.




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Montserrat’s Energy Policy Forefront at EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference

Montserrat’s Energy Policy Forefront at EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference


The 2016 EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference took place in Barbados.

The conference run from October 10-11th, 2016. It is a joint EU-CARICOM/CARIFORUM initiative which is designed to foster partnerships between the European Union, the Caribbean, development partners and the private sector. Furthermore, the conference also worked towards unfolding the potential of the Caribbean region; and leveraging investment towards achieving the region’s renewable energy goals.

Montserrat’s renewable energy policy, championed over the last two years by The Honourable Minister with responsibility for Energy, Paul Lewis, was today a key feature at the conference.

Delegates at the conference were treated to a presentation delivered by Minister Lewis, as part of a Ministerial panel, that gave more insight into Montserrat’s renewable energy plans and actions thus far, to encompass geothermal development and solar.

Full article

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