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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The Caribbean after Irma

The Caribbean after Irma

It is the cost of the region’s unimaginable natural beauty that, by the caprice of fate, there is the periodic risk of ruin. There is nothing to be said of this past week’s tragedies that has not yet been said, and our hearts go out to the people who died.What needs to be said is this: the Caribbean will rebuild. Caribbean people: they cannot be defeated. They rebuild, they restore and they live again.

It will not be easy, it may not be quick, but it will happen.

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Government of the Azores and cooperation with the OCTs

Government of the Azores and cooperation with the OCTs

During the OCTA Innovation International Conference, the Regional Assistant Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations, Mr. Rui Bettencourt expressed the Regional Government’s interest in establishing “new alliances” of cooperation with European overseas territories.

“We are talking about territories that may not only a number of interesting markets for us, but can also open geopolitical alliances in the world,” stressed Rui Bettencourt at the opening of the International Conference of OCTA.

In his speech, Rui Bettencourt stressed that this is “an interesting organisation for the Azores as a new ally within the EU,” as it “enhances the projection of Europe in the world.”

“We are now starting a process of rapprochement to those territories and learn how we can collaborate,” Rui Bettencourt said, stressing that, at this stage,” we need to “exchange ideas” so that we may analyse together what we can do with these territories.

In this regard, the Regional Secretary stressed that, during the works of the two-day conference, “regional companies will show what is to innovate and confront this innovation with what their counterparts do in these territories.”

“These territories are located in various parts of the world, from the Caribbean to the Pacific, but all something in common with us: the fact that they are islands as well as small and fragile territories that are very distant from the European Union; therefore, they share some common concerns with us,” said Rui Bettencourt.

For the Regional Secretary “the interest is twofold,” emphasising that, on the one hand, we want to say “we exist and we have good practices,” seeing that other practices exist and may be shared, and, on the other hand, “we might have a market for some of our products.”

OCTA Innovation International Conference took place at Nonagon. The Nonagon is the first Science and Technology Park of the Azores. It is located in Lagoa, on Sao Miguel Island.

Nonagon’s goal is to position itself as a structural organization in technological dynamism and training of skilled human capital in the field of information systems and communications, monitoring and earth observation, space and sea. It also aims to establish itself as a catalyst in the technological synergies transfer processes of the Azores innovation ecosystem.

Nonagon is an initiative of the Regional Government in partnership with the municipality of Lagoa in order to promote coordination between the public, private and university, leading to the creation of a new development paradigm.

You may watch the video of the OCTA Innovation international conference.

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BIC Awards Ceremony in the Azores

BIC Awards Ceremony in the Azores

The BIC Awards Ceremony took place in the Igreja do Colégio dos
Jesuítas (Church of the Jesuit College) in Ponta Delgada in the Azores on April 12th 2017.

Out of the 23 nominations received, BIC Awards were given as follows:

Business Awards

  • Branches of Learning, Anguilla
  • Agrilogic Systèmes, New-Caledonia
  • Distillerie de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
  • SafetyNet, Turks & Caicos Island

 Innovation Awards

  • Green’S’Cool Foundation, Aruba
  • Fresh Water Mill, Bonaire
  • Curaçao Innovation Award, Curaçao
  • Tahiti Fa’Ahotu, French Polynesia
  • Visioon, New-Caledonia

Creativity Awards

  • Creative Lab Caribbean, Curaçao
  • Street Art Skalo, Curaçao
  • Emerald Isle Ceramics – Montserrat
  • Pacific Game Lab, New-Caledonia
  • Alternative Constructions, New-Caledonia

You may watch video.

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Best Wishes from OCTA Innovation

Best Wishes from OCTA Innovation

Best Wishes to all involved in OCTA Innovation project for a great cooperation in assisting islands on their development by using innovation platform for propelling systemic innovation across the sectors, and through a true public private cooperation.

OCTA Innovation is on the way for making something very unique, OCTs to be one of the examples for having creativity and innovation as drivers of the growth. We believe in this. We are doing this on the ground.

A mix of the tailored technical assistance in wide spectrum of the activities starting by recognising the most attractive particular opportunities, via setting the strategies, to the implementation of the structural and systemic reforms, to implemenation via pilot projects whatever size of the projects are, even small as in our OCTA Innovation project pilot projects are.

This tailored mix with the full ownership of the project on the ground makes the difference. We believe in this, and we are making this difference.

 

 

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Project Steering Committee – Planning into 2017

Project Steering Committee – Planning into 2017

 

OCTA Innovation Project Steering Committee had on 12th of December its final meeting of 2016. Under Chairmanship of Janice Panton MBE (the representative of Government of Montserrat to the EU and UK), committee members are: Chloé Calvignac (the representative of Government of New Caledonia to the EU), Cedrick Tilma (the EU representative of the Government of Aruba at the permanent representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brussels), Mininnguaq Kleist (the Head of the Greenland’s EU Representation) and Carol Voges (Head of Finance and Economic Affairs at Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten).

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Are you ready for the next Brussels’ Bruzz?

Are you ready for the next Brussels’ Bruzz?

 

OCTA Innovation Bruzz in Brussels generates an exceptional awareness and excitement for the OCTs. We are keeping OCTs high on the EU radar, driving forward public and private investors and business.

We are already planning further events going in November at the European Commission DG DEVCO Info Centre, in December at the European Commission, exquisite Visitors’ Centre, and in March 2017 at the European Parliament. Should your President or Prime Minister plan to come to Brussels, or you have any other occasion that it could benefit your island from some Brussels limelight, let us know. Brussels and OCTA Innovation 25,000 contacts, are keen to hear about innovation at your island.

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L’émergence de l’innovation en Nouvelle Calédonie

L’émergence de l’innovation en Nouvelle Calédonie

 

 

En effet, ce projet « Stratégies territoriales d’innovation » a été porté par la Nouvelle Calédonie en 2007-2008 dans le contexte de la programmation du 10ième FED ; pour la première fois, la Commission européenne nous donnait l’opportunité de monter un projet qui devait couvrir l’ensemble des PTOM associés à l’UE. Dans ce contexte, la Nouvelle Calédonie a proposé de monter un projet sur l’innovation.

Pourquoi l’innovation ? C’était le résultat de démarches et de réflexions déjà engagées en Nouvelle Calédonie sur les outils et dispositifs en place non seulement au niveau national mais aussi au niveau européen. Au niveau national, il s’agissait des différentes stratégies de recherche-innovation dans les domaines présents en outre-mer. Au niveau européen cela concernait les stratégies régionales à l’innovation, développées dans le contexte de la programmation des fonds structurels en faveur des régions de l’UE. On s’est largement inspiré de ce processus en place dans les régions de l’UE pour monter ce projet, et le proposer aux autres PTOM ; très rapidement on a reçu l’approbation des autres territoires pour monter ce projet, ainsi que celui de la Commission européenne, en tant que bailleur, financeur du projet thématique.

Le processus de programmation a pris quelques années et en parallèle du montage du projet sur le plan administratif et financier, on a continué au niveau politique de souligner lors de chaque opportunité de dialogue, l’importance de l’innovation et du renforcement de la compétitivité dans les PTOM. On peut notamment mentionner la position commune entre les PTOM et les Etats membres sur le futur du partenariat entre l’UE et les PTOM, adopté ici même à Nouméa en février 2011 dans laquelle l’accent a été mis sur le besoin du soutien de l’UE pour renforcer la compétitivité des PTOM. On peut également mentionner d’autres opportunités notamment les Conférences ministérielles et le forum de dialogue UE-PTOM au cours desquels des tables rondes thématiques ont pu être réalisées sur le sujet de l’innovation. Toujours en parallèle de ce processus de programmation, on a aussi été associé et participé activement aux différentes initiatives de séminaires européens organisés sur l’innovation, à Séville ou à Grenade en 2010.

Tout ce processus a pris quelque années mais on est très content que le projet ait pu démarrer en 2014 et satisfait de voir aujourd’hui la réalisation de ce séminaire, qui fait partie des activités prévues dans le projet suite au séminaire de lancement organisé à Bruxelles l’an dernier. Deux séminaires régionaux étaient prévus et la Nouvelle Calédonie était bien entendu très demandeuse de pouvoir organiser le séminaire régional Pacifique dans la mesure où elle avait porté un intérêt particulier pour ce projet dès le démarrage.

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OCTA Innovation at the OCTs

OCTA Innovation at the OCTs

Following the OCTA-EU political declaration research, education and innovation are the key in securing sustainable development and prosperity at the OCTs. In my role of the Chairman on Project Steering Committee for OCTA Innovation, I have at the first hand witnessed not only enthusiasm, creativity and innovation initiatives, but also wide-ranging innovation potential of all of the OCTs. OCTA Innovation initiates and guides this potential, helping to structure innovation initiatives with supporting development of innovation strategies, structured guidance and ensuring joint learning.

Leading this exciting work has been exceptionally rewarding, and it has provided me with an insight into potentials for harnessing OCTs’ dynamism for work in areas relevant for OCTs, from biodiversity and agriculture, to securing economic growth and sustainability.

From Montserrat experience, pushing forward education is at the centre of securing future for the island. Not only it develops knowledge and builds capacity, it also creates a positive societal dynamics that drives innovation and creativity.

Chairing our Project Steering Committee has been a pleasure as it enabled me to work closely with other members of the committee so we could jointly share our experiences and support moving the project forward.

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Cedrick Tilma: Innovation in energy – a top OCT priority

Cedrick Tilma: Innovation in energy – a top OCT priority

Cedrick Tilma, Aruba’s representative to the European Union’s institutions, Chair of the OCT Association’s Working Group on Energy and president of the Executive Committee of OCTA, was a key figure in both establishing the OCTA Innovation project and in bringing into being a Sustainable Energy Roadmap for OCTs, signed in June 2015 by OCT Heads of Government.

 

The importance for an OCT to innovate for economic growth and sustainable development.

Innovation is imperative to advance economic diversification for sustainable development across all economic sectors and activities of government and society. Community dialogue and innovation at all levels of education are a necessity. Aruba, for example, is establishing a Green faculty at the University of Aruba to ‘capture and disseminate on an academic level’ the knowledge that is being gathered as the Island is transforming into a green and low carbon economy. The use of renewable sources of energy is a key issue for OCTs to reduce dependency on the import of fossil fuels. The wider use of renewables is one of the top innovation priorities for OCTs.

 

The importance of renewable energy for OCTs.

The greatest challenge of our time is the rising temperature of our planet caused by worldwide CO2 emissions. Only with a drastic transformation of energy consumption and generation can this trend be curbed. Although no heavy polluters, OCTs also have a responsibility that could be turned into opportunity when making our contribution to CO2 reductions. Islands by default are ‘non-connected’ which make us ideal locations to test and apply sustainable energy applications. In addition, OCTs possess an almost limitless supply of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, marine, hydro and thermal. Fossil fuels and centralized power supply are in decline and OCTs need to be part of the global sustainable energy transformation from the start. It is my firm belief that this can be achieved by strategically connecting the opportunities of our islands to the right resources and partners.

The use of renewables is also promising for the creation of new jobs, such as in the expanding eco-tourism market.

To ensure that these goals are a priority, OCT Heads of Government drew up and signed the OCT Sustainable Energy Roadmap in June 2015. It contains a commitment to cut fossil fuel dependency and promote renewable energy using all available tools: technical, economic and regulatory.

 

The feasibility of all OCTs sourcing 100 per cent of their energy from renewables is directly linked to access of applicable funding. Innovative financing structures such as the EFSI guarantees through the European Investment Bank can greatly excel the penetration of renewable energy in the OCTs.

Best practices can be shared between OCTs. My own country, Aruba, has already set a goal of becoming 100% renewable. It has invested in windmills, solar parks, a waste to energy plant, as well as in smaller products, such as solar panels for school roofs. One of challenges in the greater use of renewables is to balance supply and consumption via energy storage systems.
The sustainable use of natural resources is also the focal sector for OCTs under the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

OCTA Innovation is driving in the same direction. It is providing technical assistance and funding pilot projects to advance innovation in all sectors, notably renewable energies as well as leveraging the transfer of the best innovative practice and knowledge developed in Europe.

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