St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Receive Indicative EDF 11 Funding of 21.5 Million Euros Councillor Lawson Henry, SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, and Assistant Financial Secretary, Dax Richards, are currently attending the 12th Overseas Countries and Territories – European Union Forum (OCT-EU Forum) in Brussels, Belgium. They are representing St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha at the Forum covering a variety of issues.
The delegation arrived in Brussels early on Tuesday morning, 3 December. The day was dominated by the Trilateral meeting with the European Commission (EC) and Member States, where discussions centred on the 10th European Development Funding (EDF) allocations and progress against leading indicators for the release of funding to all three Islands.
This was a very useful meeting where the delegation were able to highlight concerns in the different Islands and how they can continue to work together with the EC to get the best results. That evening at 6pm the delegation attended a Forum at the European Parliament, on the subject of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, hosted by Member of the European Parliament Mr Maurice Ponga. The presentations and debate ended around 9.30pm.
On Wednesday the delegation attended the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA, of which St Helena is a founding member) Ministerial Conference, where there were various issues and discussions, including the political resolutions. Councillor Henry gave a short intervention on the topic of the adoption of a board of Chairman. The political resolutions once agreed were then physically signed off by Councillor Henry and the other heads of the 25 delegations of OTCA. During the forum the new Executive Council of the OCTA was elected and SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys was elected to the post of Vice President of the OCTA EXCO. This is great news for St Helena as we will have a stronger voice and presence on all OCTA matters.
Thursday saw the start of the actual 12th OCT-EU Forum, and there were presentations from key stakeholders, including the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament. Representatives of Member States then talked about the Overseas Association Decision (OAD), welcomed the new OAD and the further engagement of the OCTs. The EC then announced the indicative financial allocations under the 11th EDF round for the OCTs. St Helena, Ascension and Tristan will receive 21.5 million Euros in total for all three Islands over the period of 2015-2020. This was followed by the interventions from each of the heads of delegations in response to the new OAD. Councillor Henry presented his intervention which was well received by all present.
When asked how he thought the Forum has gone so far Councillor Henry said: “Attending the OCT-EU forum has been a real eye opener and a steep learning curve, as it brings together not only Britain’s Overseas Territories but the whole of the EU’s OCT’s. This highlights the richness and diversity of living on an Island. “I believe we on Island underestimate the importance of the OCT’s-EU relations to St Helena, Ascension and Tristan. We need to change this and ensure our people are educated on these issues. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Kedell and Dax for their support and guidance during the Forum.”
The meetings will conclude today Friday, 6 December, with further discussions around territorial and regional programming and strategies for innovation. Councillor Henry and Kedell will then leave later that evening. Dax will stay on for the training workshop for Territory Authorising Officers (TAO) which will take place on Monday and Tuesday 9 and 10 December, before returning to London on Tuesday evening.
Both Councillor Henry and Dax will depart for Ascension on Wednesday and arrive back on St Helena on Tuesday 17 December.
SHG 6 December 2013