Representatives from the European Union’s (EU) Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) will gather in Saint Martin from October 5 to 7 to brainstorm the challenge of diversifying economies with innovation.
Innovation Managers appointed by OCT governments will attend discussions led by the project’s Brussels-based team leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck. The British Virgin Islands will be represented at the meeting by Policy Analyst/Strategic Adviser in the Premier’s Office, Ms. Lizette George.
The three-day workshop is part of the European Union-funded project ‘Territorial Strategies for Innovation’, which runs from April 2014 to April 2018. It is designed to find innovative solutions for economic diversification and improved regional and global competitiveness in 20 of the EU’s inhabited OCTs.
Mr. Jezic von Gesseneck explained that the process of enhancement of the innovation for sustainable islands’ growth is led in each OCT by the OCT’s Innovation Manager. He said it is starting the process with the assessment of the innovation situation, and in developing a vision for growth, identifying competitive advantages and setting strategic priorities.
He stated, “OCTA Innovation brings all stakeholders together, both from public and from the private sector to develop economies of the EU Overseas Countries and Territories.”
The scope for innovation in both the green and blue economies will be a major focus of discussion. An expert in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises from Trinidad and Tobago will share best practices in the Caribbean’s green economy.
Further development of the renewable energy sector: solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and hydropower is also on the agenda, as well as the expanding niche market sectors in the Caribbean such as marine and yachting, medical tourism, sports, boutique hotels, gastronomy and entertainment.
“We take a broad view on innovation. It is not only about high-tech, it is the ability of a system and society as a whole to bring and apply new ideas. And, more importantly, bring them into market, translating them into economic growth and prosperity,” Mr. Jezic von Gesseneck said.
OCTs involved in the project are Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Saba, St. Barthélemy, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Sint Eustatius, St. Martin, Turks and Caicos, Wallis and Futuna.