From left: Chief Minister Victor Banks signing the addendum with Director for Development Coordination – Latin America and the Caribbean, Jolita Butkeviciene .
From left: Chief Minister Victor Banks, Jolita Butkeviciene, Perin Bradley and Aidan Harrigan.
ANGUILLA–Chief Minister Victor Banks, Deputy Governor Perin Bradley and Permanent Secretary Aidan Harrigan are currently in Brussels attending the 16th Overseas Countries and Territories-European Union (OCT-EU) Forum in Brussels.
Today, February 22, will see the Ministerial Conference for the OCT Association with the main purpose to coordinate the views of the countries with respect to a common position to be taken in dealing with the European Commission and the Member States.
On February 23 is the annual OCT-EU Forum: a tripartite meeting that includes the OCTs, the European Commission and the four EU Member States that have such territories – the UK, France, Denmark and the Netherlands. It is chaired by the European Commission with the aim of outlining the visions for cooperation between the parties, enabling the OCTs to take full part in the Association and to allow a broad-based dialogue for consultation on the principles, detailed procedures and results of the Association.
The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument providing EU aid for development cooperation with the OCTs. Approximately EC $42.9 million (14 million euros) has been allocated for Anguilla’s Territorial Programme for the 11th EDF period 2015-2020. This programme will support implementation of its education sector policy, as outlined in its Education Development Plan: “Education and Training for a better Future – A Strategy for Education, 2015 to 2020.” To date the first tranche of EC $11.6 million was received on September 18, 2017. The anticipated tranches for 2018-2020 are EC $7.3 million, EC $10.2 million and EC $8.7 million, respectively.
Additionally, following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the Government of Anguilla applied to the European Commission to access reserves of the 11th EDF, specifically “Reserve B.” The EU Commissioner has approved the mobilisation of 2.8 million euros from the reserve of the B-envelope under the 11th EDF to support Anguilla in tackling the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.
A total budget of 40 million euros has been allocated to the 11th EDF Regional Programme. Under this Programme, the Caribbean OCTs will collaborate in the areas of Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity. The Caribbean OCTs are represented by St. Maarten, the Regional Authorising Officer for the Regional Programme. Following Hurricane Irma, the OCTs have agreed to add a component of resilience to the Programme. There will also be a further programme that focuses on energy, climate change and disaster preparedness.
The Caribbean OCTs include five British, six Dutch and one French territory. These are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Barths.