Councillor Lawson Henry returned to the Island on Tuesday 10 March 2015, having attended a series of trilateral meetings, the Ministerial Conference and the 13th OCT-EU Forum (Overseas Countries and Territories – European Union) in the British Virgin Islands from 25-27 February 2015. Councillor Henry was accompanied at these meetings by SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, and Tristan UK Representative, Chris Carnegy.
A wide range of topics were discussed ranging from unlocking the value of the OCTs, sustainable use of natural resources, renewable energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction. For the first time, Joint Conclusions from the OCT-EU Forum were also agreed by OCTs, the European Commission and Member States.
Renewable Energy, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction were agreed as the themes for the Thematic Budget line under the 11th European Development Fund -which St Helena will be able to access in addition to the Territorial Allocation.
Councillor Henry found it very useful attending these meetings, both for the discussion and for networking with colleagues from other territories with similar issues to St Helena – hearing how they are working towards overcoming some of these issues.
Councillor Henry commented:
“This was the second time I have been nominated to attend this forum and was thus better placed to understand how the EU works with the Territories – the more knowledge we gain the stronger St Helena can be represented at future forums.
“We receive substantial funding from the EU which is very important to St Helena. It is only right that we attend these forums to account for how we are spending the funds and reporting the difference these projects make to residents’ lives.”
Councillor Henry also had the opportunity to meet the new Commissioner responsible for International Development and Cooperation, as well as witnessing the unanimous vote for SHG’s UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, as President of the OCTA Executive Committee (a separate press release will issue shortly on Kedell’s election).
Councillor Henry concluded:
“I always feel very honoured to be representing the Island and am grateful to my colleagues for having the confidence in nominating me. I must of course mention the support from Officers in SHG but also from our UK Representative, Mrs Kedell Worboys MBE. I would also like to mention too that we had the privilege of having Tristan’s new Representative, Mr Chris Carnegy attend, as part of the St Helena delegation and I would like to pay tribute to him for his support.”
24 March 2015