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.
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):
- September 2020 | Article
- October 2019
- March 2017
- September 2016
- June 2016
- June 2015
2020: Thierry Santa
2019 : Eugene Rhuggenaath
2018 - Edouard Fritch
2017 : Cartwright Robinson
Turks and Caicos
2016 : Michiel Godfried Eman
2015 : Bernard D. Whiteman
2015 : Ivar Asjes
2014: Orlando Smith
British Virgin Islands
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.