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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Vocational Skills Week on 20-24 November 2017

Vocational Skills Week on 20-24 November 2017

The European Commission is organising a second European Vocational Skills Week on 20-24 November 2017, to build on the success that you helped us create last year, stating :

  • Every single person is talented. Some talents may be obvious, some still hidden.
  • Vocational education and training is a smart choice, is fun, and leads to excellence in education, high-quality jobs and increased employability.
  • There are great vocational training opportunities that successfully prepare you for interesting and challenging careers, as well as active engagement in society.
  • Vocational education and training is a desirable option for people of all ages, and prepares people for jobs the world over.
  • Quality training develops the creative and innovative potential of learners.
  • Upskilling and reskilling throughout life is key to improved job opportunities and better integration in society.
  • Lifelong learning enhances social inclusion, diversity, and active citizenship.
  • Read more
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Reconstruction of EU Overseas Countries and Territories hit by hurricane

Reconstruction of EU Overseas Countries and Territories hit by hurricane

This letter from the European Parliament (EP) is requesting the European Commission (EC) to treat both Sint Maarten and Saint Martin equally with regards to the EU funding they can access for the reconstruction of the entire island. The French side due to its status as a European OR has access to many EU funding sources such as the solidarity fund and the newly adopted natural disaster fund that offer financial assistance for reconstruction after natural disasters. Last Wednesday during a debate at the EP many Dutch and French MEPs reiterated the need for the equal treatment of both sides of the island. The message being that we are all EU citizens and should therefore in times of dire need be treated equally and not abandoned by the EU. The Commissioner present promised after the debate to do all within his power to help. Although this will be a long process, it is a battle worth fighting, not only for Sint Maarten, but for islands, such as, Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba, Statia, BVI and TCI that have the same status as we do on the Dutch side. We have all been hit by hurricane Irma and need to do all within our power to acquire external assistance in order to rebuild our countries in a more sustainable manner to the paradises they have always been.

Original article

By Carol Voges

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New Skills Agenda for Europe

New Skills Agenda for Europe

The new Skills Agenda for Europe launches a number of actions to ensure that the right training, the right skills and the right support is available to people in the European Union. It will aim at making better use of the skills that are available; equip people with the new skills that are needed – to help them find quality jobs and improve their life chances. The Commission invites Members States, social partners, the industry and other stakeholders to work together to:

  • improve the quality and relevance of skills formation
  • make skills more visible and comparable
  • improve skills intelligence and information for better career choices

Read more

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European Union and OCTs

European Union and OCTs

Mr. Denis Salord, Head of Unit at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development in charge of Overseas Countries and Territories opened the BRUZZ dedicated to Turks and Caicos Islands last Thursday 13th of July.

Mr. Salord particularly highlighted the importance of the regional dimension, and as such of the cooperation among OCTs and among OCTs and their neighbouring countries.

Please find below Mr. Salord’s introductory speech at the OCTA Innovation Brussels BRUZZ on Turks and Caicos Islands:

Your Excellency honourable Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you today in Brussels for this OCTA Innovation Brussels BRUZZ event focusing on Turks and Caicos.

We are particularly honoured to have with us today Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier of Turks and Caicos, Minister for Trade and Investment of the TCI and chairman of the Overseas Countries and territories Association (OCTA).

As you know, the Association between the 25 OCTs and the EU is of strategic importance for the EU. The European Commission places a particular importance in the work of the OCT Association (OCTA) and is committed to continue working very closely with OCTA to reinforce the partnership between the EU and the OCTs. In this context, as the head of unit responsible for the relations with OCTs in the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), I am particularly pleased with the ongoing collaboration between the European Commission and the chairmanship of OCTA held by honourable Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson.

The Overseas Association Decision of 2013 which governs the OCT-EU relations, reflects a paradigm shift, from a focus on poverty reduction to a reciprocal relation focused on cooperation on mutual interests, and places special emphasis on priorities which are relevant for the OCTs, such as the enhancement of their competitiveness, the strengthening of their resilience, reduction of their vulnerability, and promotion of the cooperation between OCTs and their regional, European and international partners.

In this context, innovation is a central lever to ensure sustainable economic growth in OCTs and the enhancement of their competitiveness. Innovation is at the heart of the EU action in the area of sustainable growth and competitiveness and is seen as a top priority by the EU institutions and the Member States.

In OCTs, the Territorial Strategies for Innovation (TSI) programme also known as “OCTA Innovation” programme is the thematic programme funded by the 10th European Development Fund and covering all OCTs. It embodies the prominence of innovation in the context of the OCT-EU Association.

The overall objective of TSI is to enhance the sustainable development of OCTs through innovative solutions for economic diversification and to improve the regional and global competitiveness of the OCTs. The project provides technical capacity and demand-driven services to the OCT governments in developing their Territorial Strategies for Innovation. To date 9 territorial Strategies for Innovation projects have been initiated in the same number of OCTs.

Today’s OCTA Innovation event is dedicated to the Turks and Caicos. The 11th European Development Fund territorial programme for TCI was signed by Commissioner Mimica and Honourable Premier Cartwright-Robinson at the beginning of 2017 during the 15th OCT-EU Forum alongside four other EDF-OCT territorial programming documents. The programme, amounting for a total of EUR 14.6 million, is focusing on primary and secondary education providing support to TCI ambitious education sector policy. Madame Premier will probably tell us more about this programme.

I am also sure that TCI will be able to share its experience in the area of innovation having focused its 10th EDF multi-annual programme on improving the enabling environment for private sector development as part of the EU general support to the development policy of the OCT.

I look forward to our discussions today, and to strengthening our association going forward. I am sure they will contribute to making our partnership even more effective.


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Learning from EC ACP programmes on Science, Research and Innovation

Learning from EC ACP programmes on Science, Research and Innovation

OCTA Innovation was delighted that the Robert Burmanjer Head of Unit in the Knowledge, Performance and Results Task Force of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation & Development attended the 2IC. He shared invaluable knowledge of the EC’s research and innovation policies and programmes in African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations who are members of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement (2000-2020).

Mr Burmanjer emphasised that Research and Innovation are recognised by the European Union in meeting the challenge of nearly all of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals, as they lay the foundations for new approaches, solutions and technologies to identify, clarify and tackle local and global problems.

The proposed European Consensus on Development blueprint for aligning the European Union’s development policy with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) reflects this importance.

Article 86 states that: “the EU and its MS will continue investing in research and development in and for developing countries, including enhancing national innovation systems; to strengthen measurable impacts on progress towards the SDGs through responsible research and innovation approach including education for science.”

Mr Burmanjer described some of the main programmes financed by the European Development Fund over the last 10 years to support Research, Science, Technology and Innovation in ACP countries. They include a project to enhance capacity building in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, demonstrating the added value of a mutually reinforcing capacity building and network development. Under this programme, trainees from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands also received training at Papua New Guinea’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). A Material Transfer Agreement, ensured that this transfer of knowledge continues in the long-term.

The ‘Improving Innovation Capacities in the Caribbean’ (INVOCAB) programme is building and strengthening educational science capacities in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), specifically Science Education, as an enabler for poverty reduction, growth and socio-economic development of Caribbean countries. It is improving teaching quality in science subjects at both primary and secondary levels, and stimulating interest and performance of students in selected science subjects.

We very appreciate chance of learning of and working with Mr. Robert Burmanjer, EC DEVCO Head of unit so versatile in different aspects of innovation, capacity building and knowledge sharing. You may watch video .

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2IC – The importance of knowledge sharing

2IC – The importance of knowledge sharing

OCTA Innovation is pleased to announce the participation of Robert Burmanjer at its International Conference in the Azores, 11-12th April. Mr Burmanjer is Head of the Knowledge Management Unit in the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development. He will address the importance of knowledge sharing for developing economies.

The European Commission’s proposed European Consensus stresses that the EU and its Member States should continue investing in research and development. The European consensus is a policy document that seeks to align the European Union’s development policy with the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Article 86 notably states: “… the EU and its MS will continue investing in research and development in and for developing countries, including enhancing national innovation systems; to strengthen measurable impacts on progress towards the SDGs through a responsible research and innovation approach including education for science”.



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2IC – OCTs and Azores to meet on innovation, April 11-14th

2IC – OCTs and Azores to meet on innovation, April 11-14th

Press release – Brussels, April 5 2017 – An international conference in Ponta Delgada, Azores, 11-14th April, will gather representatives of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)*, the government of the Azores, the European Commission and innovation experts to look at how innovation is spurring sustainable development in both groups of small islands and the scope for future initiatives.

The event is being organised by OCTA Innovation in cooperation with the Government of the Azores. OCTA innovation is propelling innovation in the OCTs. It is assisting the implementation of Territorial Strategies for Innovation, including technical, demand-driven support to OCT governments and the financing of a number of pilot projects. The aim is to propel growth and economic diversification in the OCTs and improve their competitiveness.

Vasco Alves Cordeiro, President of the Government ofthe Azores, will open the confernce with Janice Panton MBE, Montserrat’s representative to the United Kingdom and Chair of OCTA Innovation’s Steering Committee. Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, Team Leader of OCTA Innovation will chair the conference. Mr. Jezic von Gesseneck will highlight the relevance of innovation for sustainable growth of islands and OCTA Innovation’s work to root innovation eco-systems in OCT societies.

“Governments must take the lead in systemic innovation across all sectors; fostering partnerships between public and private entities and building capacity and knowledge. The ambition is to grow a number of thematic centres of excellence among OCTs with a focus on those sectors where individual OCTs are already leading the way and to share expertise among OCTs,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck. The centres will share their expertise with other OCTs.

As mostly small islands distanced from the EU mainland, the OCTs face similar challenges to the diversification of their economies as the EU’s Outermost islands which includes the Azores, a group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic.

The conference is an opportunity for OCT Innovation Managers – government appointees who are leading the way on innovation in the OCTs – to learn about the Azores’ approaches to innovation. Yet, they have in common unique innovation potential including renewable energy and niche tourism. Panels will take a closer look at innovation initiatives in different sectors in both the OCTs and the Azores: renewable energies; the digital economies; the green and blue economies and the cultural sector.

The already initiated cooperation between the OCTs and the Azores should be taken a step further during the conference with a view to drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding between the OCT Association and the Azores. The aim is to forge closer cooperation such as through sharing best research and innovation practice and know-how.

Key speakers at the event include: Pedro De Sampaio Nunes, Entrepreneur, former Secretary of State of Science and Innovation and former Head of the EUREKA Secretariat; Robert Burmanjer, Head of Unit for “Knowledge Management”
in the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation, Giles Garel, Full Chair Professor of Innovation Management at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers in Paris and Paulo Carreiro, Director for Business Development in the Azores.

For further information and interviews: innovation@octa-innovation.eu

* The OCTs – located in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Caribbean sea – are associated to the EU through four EU member states to which they are constitutionally linked: Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saba, St. Bathelemy, St. Helena, St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Futuna.


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Innovating and surpassing challenges – Forum of the EU’s Outermost Regions

Innovating and surpassing challenges – Forum of the EU’s Outermost Regions

A forum takes place in Brussels, March 30-31, between EU policy makers and the EU’s nine Outermost Regions: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin (France), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal) and the Canary Islands (Spain). It will consider a renewed European Union Strategy towards the nine.

Existing EU measures under the Regional Policy, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, assist the Outermost Regions in surpassing their unique challenges. Insularity, remoteness, topography, climate and dependency on a limited number of economic sectors are issues that the grouping shares with the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

However, the unique geographic and geological characteristics of the Outermost Regions are spurring research and innovation in the areas of renewable energies, pharmacology, space science, biodiversity and marine ecosystems. The forum will look at measures to make the most of the regions’ potential within a renewed strategy.

The Presidents of the Outermost Regions of the European Union are expected to attend the event, along with President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu, French Minister of Overseas, Ericka Bareigts, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Margarida Marques and Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Jorge Toldeo Albiñana.

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OCTA Innovation’s mission and vision – Janice Panton

OCTA Innovation’s mission and vision – Janice Panton

A special thanks to Janice Panton for her recent simultaneous work as President of the Executive Committee of OCTA and on the OCTA Innovation Project. We look forward to continuing to work with her to propel innovation in the OCTs.

Ms. Panton’s dedication and energy have greatly contributed to advancing the project and rooting innovation in the OCTs.

The EU-funded OCTA Innovation project is supporting the implementation of the most promising and innovative ideas in business, ways of organisation, and the implementation of innovative technologies in the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and across all sectors: agriculture, construction, the creative industry, energy, financial services, fisheries, food processing, IT, administration, tourism, trade and transport.

OCTA Innovation’s activities have already created an innovation momentum in OCTs which should be stepped up to carry forward the project’s achievements. These initiatives include missions by innovation experts to the OCTs, the organisation of workshops, seminars and conferences, learning-by-doing, training in innovation, increasing the visibility of OCTs to their respective regions and across continents and implementing projects.

Looking ahead, the focus is the sustainability of the OCTA innovation project in spurring innovation.  The aim is to move forward in the development of:

  • Innovation eco-systems – the vision is for innovation eco-systems in be in place in all individual OCTs. The establishment of an eco-system requires innovation to be embraced by government and wider society and across all sectors.
  • Systemic Innovation Government needs to play a key role in driving innovation in the Overseas Countries and Territories through creating an enabling environment for innovation, putting in all required measures and actions, and enabling innovation implementation in the OCT.

Territorial Strategy for Innovation 15th Ministerial Conference Report (Janice Panton).

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