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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EU assistance for hit islands

EU assistance for hit islands

Hurricane Irma has left a trail of devastation across many countries…We stand in full solidarity with all those in the Caribbean… For as long as it takes. Last week we mobilised our emergency response tools and our 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre has been in continuous coordination with our EU Member States on any assistance required. Today additional EU funding is on its way. We have now released an initial amount of humanitarian assistance of €2 million for the most affected islands in the Caribbean. This will help support key sectors such as water and sanitation, health, waste management and logistics. Further EU funding for reconstruction efforts is of course available in terms of longer term assistance. This new support comes on top of our EU Copernicus satellite support, which has been providing essential mapping services since last week. EU humanitarian experts deployed across the region continue to help the local authorities and coordinate aid deliveries. Let me make it clear that any country in the region can request our help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. We stand ready to provide any further assistance to the affected countries. Read more

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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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New OCTA Presidency

New OCTA Presidency

Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, is the new Chair of OCT Association, a position that TCI last held in 2003 under the leadership of the Hon. Derek Taylor.

Mrs Cartwright-Robinson, an attorney, was born in the Bahamas to Turks and Caicos Islands parents who were working there. Her family returned to the Turks and Caicos Islands when she was six. She replaces outgoing Chair, Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman.

During the 15th OCT-EU Forum, Mrs Cartwright Robinson signed the programming document for the Turks and Caicos for 11th EDF funds: “I am pleased that the focus of the 11th EDF harmonizes with my Government’s agenda for vocational training, climate change and marine biodiversity, which are highlighted in the Change Document, our manifesto,” she said.

The Premier added: “I will be establishing a steering committee to swiftly implement the programmes of the 11th EDF and which will ensure that there are appropriate levels of monitoring and management of the programme targets.”

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Aruba hosts OCT-EU Forum

Aruba hosts OCT-EU Forum


Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman, Chair of OCTA, hosted the 15th OCT-EU Forum in Oranjestad, February, 20-24th, 2017.

The strengthening of relations between different OCTs and with the European Union were themes of this year’s Forum. The programming of regional and thematic funds of the 11th European Development Fund also topped the agenda.

The ОСТА Ministerial Conference and trilateral meetings are organised in the margin of the OCT-EU Forum. The OCT-EU Forum was chaired by the European Commission while the OCTA Ministerial Conference was chaired by Aruba.

The Forum was an opportunity for Aruba to showcase its best innovative practice, notably in renewable energy and creative industries. An Energy Learning Tour was organized of the solar park and Windpark Vader Piet as well as the Cosecha San Nicolas which is a centre for design, creativity and craftsmanship.

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Mission de l’Union européenne à Wallis-et-Futuna

Mission de l’Union européenne à Wallis-et-Futuna

Christoph Wagner, Chef de la coopération auprès de la délégation de l’Union européenne pour le Pacifique à Fidji (première visite sur le Territoire) et Efstratios Pegidis, chef du bureau de la Commission européenne à Nouméa se sont rendus sur le Territoire des îles Wallis-et-Futuna du vendredi 14 octobre au lundi 17 octobre 2016.

Cette visite a été l’occasion privilégiée pour les deux missionnaires européens de rencontrer les autorités locales et de dresser un bilan d’avancement sur les projets du 10ème FED territorial, notamment les aménagements du quai de Leava (Futuna), lors d’une réunion de travail le 15 octobre, en présence des services gestionnaires des projets.

Le 17 octobre, les deux représentants de l’Union européenne ont passé en revue, en présence du comité de suivi de la coopération UE-WF, l’ensemble des projets clôturés (9ème FED), en cours d’exécution (10ème FED) et la programmation du 11ème FED, rappelant ainsi l’engagement de l’Union européenne en faveur du développement économique du Territoire des îles Wallis-et-Futuna.

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EU-Overseas Countries and Territories Partnership after 2020

EU-Overseas Countries and Territories Partnership after 2020

What should the partnership between the EU and the Overseas Countries and Territories be like after 2020 when the Cotonou Agreement expires? That was the main theme at the Europe House Lecture on Monday 17 October.

The key note speakers were Cedrick Tilma, Nout van Woudenberg and Catherine Metdepenningen.The panel consisted of Ole Moesby, Mininnguaq Kleist and Ibrahim Moussouni. The event was led by moderator Dimitry Kochenov. Eduard Slootweg spoke a welcome word.

Common themes in the speeches and discussions were:

  • redesign partnership to match 21st century needs and potential
  • collaboration, reciprocity and listening to each other
  • differences and similarities between OCTs
  • the Brexit, which may lead to the exit of twelve UK OCTs
  • differentiation: the special status of Greenland
  • inclusion, sustainability, cohesion and human rights

Further information on the event, including speeches, video and photographs are available here

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Certification – a key element of organic farming

Certification – a key element of organic farming


A credible certification and labelling method for organic produce must accompany the development of organic farming. There must be consumer confidence in certification and organically-grown produce for which farmers are paid premium prices.

EU law defines the minimum standards for organic products that are produced, manufactured, imported into, sold or traded within the EU – in the Organic Regulation.

An EU logo – an outline of a leaf in the form of stars on a green background – guarantees that products comply with strict EU rules established in the organic farming regulation.

The use of the logo and correct labelling apply to all organic pre-packaged food produced within the EU.

Another EU-implemented certification scheme protects and promotes ‘quality’ agricultural products, with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin, as well as traditional products.

Producers, or groups of producers, register their products with the European Commission. These schemes and their logos help producers and groups of producers market their products better, while providing them legal protection from misuse or falsification of a product name.

Since it takes several years for farms to become fully organic, what is required is a scale of organic standards – and a corresponding labelling system – signposting the different stages on the path to becoming fully organic. This would encourage organic producers to take small steps on their way to reaching the highest level of organic farming – a total elimination of the use of chemicals.


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