OCTA is a forum of exchange for the representatives of the inhabitants of the 22 Overseas Countries and Territories and their partners. Hailing from Saint Pierre et Miquelon, which is one of the most connected French territories, I am happy to be inaugurating this new Internet website. It represents a meeting place between our unique islands, spread over the three oceans, from the poles to the tropics, and their interlocutors. In fact, this website goes beyond this to reach out to the European and World citizens.
The overseas countries and territories represent a formidable asset for the European Union, by virtue of their diversity and their strategic location. Covering a total exclusive economic zone, greater than 12 million km2 and home to almost 80% of European biodiversity, the overseas countries and territories have to find their place in a renewed partnership with the European Union.
My priority for 2013 is innovation and competitiveness. It is by innovating that overseas territories and countries will be able to:
My predecessor, Kuupik Kleist (former Prime Minister of Groenland) devoted a lot of energy to OCTA and to green growth. This theme, which has been chosen with the objective of reconciling the preservation of natural heritage and growth, permeates the legislative projects targeting the OCTs. For 2013, expectations remain strong:
The milestones in the implementation of this political agenda are structured by the functioning of our association that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Gathering the representatives of the OCTs, the Executive Committee meetings are scheduled each month. Our representatives are based in Europe to make the voice of OCTs heard in Brussels and enable inter-territorial cooperation projects. To illustrate, in 2013 we will launch the « Territorial Strategies for Innovation » project. We also just put in place the OCTA Bureau, composed of four experts who are ready to start the job in order to intensify the EU-OCT cooperation.
President of the Territorial Council of Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon