VROMI Minister Meyers attends OCTs summit

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PHILIPSBURG – Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers, Executive Assistant for the Cabinet of the Minister VROMI Chantale Groeneveldt, Senior Policy Advisor Nature and Environment VROM/Energy Expert Claire Hooft Graafland, and Policy Advisor Donor Coordination BAK/Representative of the Regional Authorizing Officer Olivia Lake, formed the St. Maarten delegation who attended the 2nd Summit of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), Energy Ministers and side events in Brussels, Belgium, which took place June 14-15.

On June 16, an Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA), took place where Head Economic Affairs and Finance of the Ministry Plenipotentiary/EU Representative based in the Netherlands/Treasurer OCTA Carol Voges, joined the delegation for the day.

The 1st Summit of OCT Energy Ministers served as a platform to finalize and sign party to the current targets in the Sustainable Energy Roadmap, drafted by the OCTs. Furthermore, the summit was used as a platform to identify and establish the priorities for the 11th EDF Thematic Program (€ 18M), which concerns all global OCTs.

During the summit, the concept of the joint OCT-EU Energy declaration was also initiated to further declare the commitment of the OCTs towards the reduction of the use of fossil fuels in the OCTs. During the 14th OCT-EU Forum held in Brussels in February, the Chair of OCTA signed the joined OCT-EU Energy Declaration on behalf of all OCTs, including St. Maarten.

The 2nd Summit of Energy Ministers, served to increase understanding of the added value the OCTs – all islands – represent to the EU in terms of open laboratories, but also grid stability, energy storage and stand-alone systems. Furthermore, OCT Energy Ministers were provided with a menu for designing actions in support of the transition towards a sustainable energy future and discuss the elements for the advancement of the programming of the resources available under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

The 1st day of the OCT Energy Summit took place at the European Parliament. There were two sessions in which OCTs exchanged on the progress of the sustainable energy transition, as well as a dedicated high level panel discussion during the Policy Conference of the EU Sustainable Energy Week. The Climate Change Quick Scan of the OCTs carried out by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), was also presented during day 1.

The 2nd day of the Summit included sessions on the promotion of policy frameworks for investment, as well as the opportunities to leverage additional resources. During day two, presentations were given by representatives from the European Investment Bank, the Carbon War Room and the European Commission. During the summit, a session was held to endorse the Summary Sheet for the Thematic Program, which pertains to the OCT program on Climate Change with a focus on Disaster Risk reduction and Sustainable Energy and concerns an envelope of €18 million.

During the extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of OCTA, a unanimous vote could not be met and as such the vote amendment of the OCTA budget for technical support could not be carried. The matters will be further discussed during the Ministerial Meeting in Aruba in February 2017.

The St. Maarten delegation also had the opportunity to attend a pre-event for the Green Aruba VII Conference, which will be held in November of this year.

Photo caption: Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers, Executive Assistant for the Cabinet of the Minister VROMI Chantale Groeneveldt, Senior Policy Advisor Nature and Environment VROM/Energy Expert Claire Hooft Graafland, and Policy Advisor Donor Coordination BAK/Representative of the Regional Authorizing Officer Olivia Lake.