PAPEETE, FRENCH POLYNESIA – A delegation from St. Maarten lead by the Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, the Honorable Michael Somersall, represented Sint Maarten at the OCTA Ministerial Conference and OCT-EU Forum in French Polynesia from February 25th to March 1st. During this conference, Sint Maarten participated with a full agenda due to its various responsibilities as it relates to the Sint Maarten-EU relationship.
Sint Maarten in collaboration with the EU, Expertise France and the World Bank hosted the Regional Implementation Kickoff Meeting for the € 40 million 11th EDF Caribbean Regional Programme on Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity (ReSEMBid). This meeting had, as primary objective to define the best method of effective engagement and governance during implementation of ReSEMBid. Sint Maarten also engaged in direct trilateral consultations with the European Union and the Netherlands as it relates to all ongoing EU funded projects such as the 10th EDF in Dutch Quarter and the Cooperation Programme with St. Martin.
The Sint Maarten Delegation participated in the Overseas Countries and Territories Ministerial Conference where the Political Declarations and Administrative Resolutions of OCTA for 2019 were agreed. The delegation also participated in a Thematic Workshop and Debate on Regional Cooperation. During this event, the EU discussed both best practices and challenges of regional cooperation for consideration at the OCT-EU Forum.
On 1 March, Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Michael Somersall, signed a statement with the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development of the European Union, Mr. Neven Mimica. The signed statement recognizes the adoption of a 7 million Euro project that will “support the national emergency response strategy of and further increase community disaster risk awareness for the people of Sint Maarten”. More specifically, funds under the 11th European Development Fund’s so-called B-envelope are allocated to build two multi-functional shelter facilities in combination with training and awareness programs for Sint Maarten communities.
Presently, Sint Maarten and the European Union are very near to signing the Financing Agreement, which officially commits the funding for this project. The structures are intended to serve as multipurpose community facilities during times when they are not needed as shelters.