Saba delegation attends 20th OCTs-EU Forum in Brussels

Commissioner Evi­ton Heyliger and Policy Advisor Courtney Hassell recently travelled to Brus­sels to attend the twentieth Overseas Countries and Territories-European Union (OCTs-EU) Forum, which took place February 26-29.

The forum takes place an­nually and is the highest-lev­el instance of dialogue that brings together representa­tives of the OCTs, member states and the European Commission, at a political level.

Leading up to the forum, the Saba delegation met with the Directorate General for International Partnerships to discuss ongoing programmes funded by the European Union, such as the Territo­rial Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) that is financing sustainable and resilient energy on Saba and will contribute to the imple­mentation of the third phase of renewable energy.

The delegation participated in workshops on regional co­operation and attended the Overseas Countries and Ter­ritories Association (OCTA) Ministerial Conference, where OCTAs new strategic course was adopted. The fo­rum itself was held on Febru­ary 29.

Keynote speeches and po­litical statements were made throughout the day, with Heyliger addressing the im­portance of culture and pre­serving Saba’s identity. He spoke about the inaugura­tion of the new Culture De­partment that is working to preserve Saba’s diverse cul­tural heritage and instil Sa­ban pride among residents. He also spoke about the vi­sion for culture on Saba and the importance of preserving and celebrating its identity. He concluded his speech by saying that Saba eagerly awaits future collaborations and funding opportunities that may arise through the forum.

The delegation also had the opportunity to meet with European Commissioner for International Partner­ships Jutta Urpilainen. The Dutch OCTs, alongside the member state representative, Alexandra van Huffelen, and the special envoy for EU funding, Edison Rijna, had a productive meeting where multiple topics were dis­cussed, including the impor­tance of investing in youth, having easier access to funds, renewable energy initiatives and the support provided by the Office of the Envoy.

Heyliger said it had been a successful week of meetings. “Saba’s participation at the 20th OCTs-EU Forum show­cases our unwavering dedica­tion to enhancing the strate­gic partnership between the European Union and our island as an overseas country and territory. Through con­structive dialogue and en­gagement, we are fostering meaningful collaborations and working towards hav­ing access to more funding opportunities that will move Saba towards continued growth and prosperity.”

The Daily Herald.

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