Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council to Focus on Sustainable Development
27 April 2012: High-level political representatives from ten Caribbean islands have formed the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) Council, which will focus on sustainable development, including work on climate change and renewable energy, in its cooperation with the EU.
The OCT Council was formally constituted on 26 April 2012, in Curacao, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Council will work on a joint Caribbean Agenda that will be promoted within the context of a new OCT Agreement being prepared by the EU due to come into effect in 2014.
The Caribbean OCT Council brings together representatives from Anguilla, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Curacao, Montserrat, Saba, St Maarten and Statia to work on areas of common interest and cooperate to ensure EU funding for their work in those areas. Initially Curacao will chair the Council, the Cayman Islands will serve as vice chair and BVI as secretariat.
The newly constituted OCT Council identified a dozen specific areas for their cooperation agenda with the EU, and formed working groups for each, as follows: climate change, chaired by Cayman Islands; renewable energy, chaired by Curacao; disaster management, chaired by Montserrat; waste management, chaired by Curacao; strategic development within a sustainable framework in small countries/territories, chaired by Cayman Islands; transportation and logistics, chaired by Curacao; capacity building and sharing / human capital development, chaired by Bonaire; relationship with the EU: budget vs. project support, co-chaired by Anguilla and Cayman Islands; small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) development, chaired by BVI; cooperation within different constitutional frameworks, chaired by St. Maarten; public-private partnerships, chaired by Bonaire; and sustainable leadership in the Caribbean, chaired by BVI.
Each working group is expected to present a plan by 1 September 2012, which the OCT Council will discuss at its next meeting scheduled to take place on 23 September 2012. [Montserrat Press Release]