Who we are
The Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTA) was registered in Belgium as a non-profit association (ASBL) in March 2003 by the governments of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
Up to 2020, 22 out of the 25 OCTs were members of OCTA, i.e. all the permanently inhabited territories (21) as well as the French Southern Antarctic Lands (TAAF). As a consequence of the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, from 1 February 2020, the 12 UK Overseas Territories are no longer Overseas Countries and Territories associated to the European Union, bringing the number of OCTA members to 13.
The 13 members are: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic lands (TAAF), Greenland, New-Caledonia, Saba, Saint-Barthelemy, Sint-Eustatius, Saint-Pierre-and-Miquelon, Sint-Maarten and Wallis and Futuna.
The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making authority and consists of the representatives (Heads of Government or delegates) of each member government. It appoints a rotating Chair who is the head of the organisation and elects an Executive Committee (ExCo) whose task is to manage the activities of the association. A Secretariat based in Brussels implements the activities and runs the Traineeship Programme.
What we do
OCTA serves as a platform through which the OCTs realise their common goals by working collectively through cooperation, policy dialogue, promotion of common positions and partnerships for the sustainable development of OCTs.
OCTA provides a forum to develop effective working relationships with the EU and support the collective interests of its members in several cooperation areas of the EU-OCT association.
Our objectives are:
- To consolidate and reinforce solidarity between OCTs and EU stakeholders
- To make recommendations and carry out various projects/programmes to enhance opportunities, comparative advantage and natural assets in order to strengthen the position of OCTs at regional and global levels
- To promote cooperation and develop a knowledge centre and thematic networks in order to consolidate ownership and provide a point of reference for creating and disseminating valuable information on the relationship between the EU and the OCTs
- To create a framework to engage the private sector, academia and civil society to enhance the profile, reputation and position of the OCTs.
The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of OCTA and consists of the representatives of each member government. The representatives at the Ministerial Conference are the heads of government or designated members of the national governments of the OCTs along with their delegations.
It meets annually and sets the political orientations and priorities of the association. Therefore, it sets the policies, approves budgets and decisions requiring its approval and elects the OCTA Chair as well as the members and President of the Executive Committee. The Ministerial Conference is granted all the prerogatives necessary to achieve the objectives of the Association.
Past Ministerial Conferences:
- 2020: Brussels | Article | Political Declaration
- 2019: French Polynesia | Article | Political Declaration
- 2018: Brussels | Article | Political Declaration
- 2017: Aruba | Political Declaration
- 2016: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2015: British Virgin Islands | Political Declaration
- 2013: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2012: Greenland | Political Declaration
- 2011: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2010: New-Caledonia | Political Declaration
- 2009: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2008: Cayman Islands | Political Declaration
- 2007: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2006: Greenland | Political Declaration
- 2005: Brussels | Political Declaration
- 2004: French Polynesia | Political Declaration
- 2003: Brussels
- 2002: Bonaire
- 2001: Brussels
Past Extraordinary Ministerial Conferences (held online or in Brussels):
The Chair is elected by the Ministerial Conference and is the head of the organisation until the next Ministerial Conference.
The current Chair is Greenland, elected during the Ministerial Conference held n Nouméa, New Caledonia on the 21st November 2022. Ms Vivian Motzfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Business & Trade is now the OCTA Chair.
More information here.
2021: Louis Mapou
2019 : Eugene Rhuggenaath
2018 : Edouard Fritch
Turks and Caicos
2017 : Cartwright Robinson
2016 : Michiel Godfried Eman
2015 : Bernard D. Whiteman
2015 : Ivar Asjes
2014: Orlando Smith
2013 : Stéphane Artano
2012 : Kuupik Vandersee Kleist
2011 : Reuben T. Meade
Under OCTA’s present statutes, the Executive Committee is composed of 6 members and one President, elected by the Ministerial Conference every year from among OCTs having an Europe-based Representative. The Executive Committee meets 10 to 12 times a year, usually in Brussels. Its role is to translate political priorities set by the Ministerial Conference into actions and to this end its work is organised around working groups. OCT Representatives who are not official members of the Executive Committee can attend as observers and take part in the working groups.
In 2015, OCTA initiated the setting-up of a permanent secretariat in Brussels by recruiting a Coordinator. It is now composed of a staff of 4. The Secretariat also runs the Overseas Traineeship Programme. The Secretariat is based in Brussels. It supports the Executive Committee of OCTA in implementing the mandate received from the Ministerial Conference. To do so, it works on the daily management of the Association, supports the cooperation between the EU and OCTA and guarantee both sustainability and efficiency. It also contributes to enhancing OCT access to horizontal budget lines and programmes by providing centralised assistance to OCTs in this area.
Twice a year, OCTA offers a 4-month internship in the OCTA Secretariat in Brussels to young professionals and graduates from the OCT members of the Association.
OCTA interns contribute to the development of the Association. They support the day-to-day work of the executive team and the secretariat. It is an opportunity to put academic theory into practice.
The next internship will take place from March to June 2023. Application will open in November – December 2022.
For more information: https://www.overseas-association.eu/traineeship-opportunity/