“The legal framework of cooperation between the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and the European Union (EU) is currently being reviewed. It is now the appropriate time to think about how the environment, research, innovation and green growth can be included in this partnership,” said Mr Maurice Ponga, Member of the European Parliament, during the seminar “From the Arctic to the Tropics: Green Growth in the OCTs”.
Bringing together over 90 participants from OCTs, European Institutions, diplomatic missions, Permanent Representations to the EU and civil society, this seminar discussed the need for greater investments in education, research and development in the OCTs as essential drivers for green economic growth. The discussion also focused on the need to enhance regional cooperation to contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the OCTs.
It was agreed that the unique and privileged position of the OCTs can act as the model and motor of development in their geographic zones, through innovation and research in the fields of environment, biodiversity and renewable energies. Yet, more financial aid through EU programmes such as LIFE and greater levels of private/public investments are needed in the OCTs in order to break through the dependency cycle.
All speakers during the seminar agreed that this group of islands has enormous assets, such as vast biodiversity and attractive conditions for developing solar energy, wind farms and smart grids that would put a break to their dependence on imports. Yet, the OCTs also face important challenges, such as insularity, that can be overcome through partnerships with the EU, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and international organisations.
This seminar was held yesterday in the European Parliament (EP) and hosted by MEP Maurice Ponga, co-Chair of the “Islands and Overseas Entities” working group of the EP Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”. It was organised by the Secretariat of the EP Intergroup in collaboration with the Government of Greenland, currently holding the OCTA chairmanship, and with the financial support from the 10th European Development Fund for the OCTs.
The EP Intergroup’s Secretariat is run jointly by IUCN and the European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD), an IUCN Member.
The full press release, all speeches, presentations and related documents of the seminar can be accessed on the Intergroup’s website; the report will follow soon.
For further information, please contact Ms Kathleen Laissy, the Secretariat of the EP Intergroup.