St Helena will be represented by Councillor Anthony Green, Financial Secretary, Dax Richards (in his role as Territorial Authorising Officer), and SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys MBE, at the Overseas Countries & Territories Association (OCTA) Ministerial Conference and 17th annual Overseas Countries & Territories of the European Union (OCT-EU) Forum and associated events. This will take place in Tahiti, French Polynesia, from Monday, 25 February, to Friday, 1 March 2019.

The OCTA Ministerial Conference will be held on Wednesday, 27 February, and will comprise of speeches, elections, and approval of the Political Declaration which will be presented to the European Commission. There will be three discussions, including:

  • A roundtable on post-2020, when the current Overseas Association Decision comes to an end
  • Oceans Study – where a consultant will provide preliminary findings on the OCTA commissioned report ‘Background Study on Oceans and the Ocean Agenda in the OCTs’
  • EDF Programmes:
    • EDF 11 – discussing the Thematic Envelope on ‘Sustainable Energy and Climate Change including Disaster Risk Reduction’ and EDF 11 Regional Projects for the Caribbean, Pacific & Indian Ocean
    • EDF 10 – report on the Territorial Strategies for Innovation

The week will culminate with the 17th OCT-EU Forum. This will include a welcome from the President of French Polynesia, Chairman of the OCTA, a keynote speech by European Commissioner, Neven Mimicia, statements from the four Member States representatives, and a roundtable discussion on ‘The OCT-EU Future Partnership’.

Other events during the week will include:

  • OCTA meetings to finalise the Political and Administrative Resolutions and work on the Common Conclusions
  • St Helena’s trilateral meeting with the European Commission and the UK Overseas Territories Association to discuss progress on the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) project
  • A field trip to Mo’orea for an official commemoration of EU officials who lost their lives in a plane crash
  • A visit to an EDF funded project and a workshop on ‘Sustainable Development through Regional Cooperation’
  • Bilateral meetings with Member State groupings and the European Commissioner

Dax said:

“It is important for St Helena to be present at the forum and, in particular, to be able to have face-to-face discussions during the trilateral meetings with the European Commission and the Member State in order to provide confidence in the delivery of the Fibre Optic Cable and the innovation projects funded by the 11th and 10th EDF respectively. It is important that we secure the remainder of the funding for the territory under the EDF 11 programme. With Brexit looming, it is also an opportunity to strengthen links with other OCTs to share experiences and to understand the implications for all UKOTs post Brexit.”

The trip is being funded by the European Union.

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SHG
22 February 2019

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