The drive for Innovation in the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) has moved up a gear following the finalisation of innovation strategies drawn up by individual OCTs under the OCTA Innovation project.
Individual OCT innovation strategies detail the innovation landscape, the scope for innovation by sector and action plans to achieve the new goals. The strategies are a key feature of OCTA Innovation, a four-year EU-funded project that is leveraging economic diversification and improved regional and global competitiveness in the EU’s inhabited OCTs*.
Adena Johnson was appointed as Innovation Manager by the Government of Montserrat to be in the driving seat of all of the project’s activities for the island.
Montserrat has submitted a DRAFT Innovation Strategy, which is still to be discussed by government.
According to Debra Percival of OCTA Innovation they are “very appreciative of all the hard work of those involved in Montserrat, especially the Representative of Montserrat to the European Union and the United Kingdom, Janice Panton, who is currently Chairperson of OCTA Innovation.
“She has an extraordinary understanding of the relevance of innovation for the sustainable development of the island’s economy,” Percival said of Panton.
The Team Leader of the OCTA Innovation project, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, discussed the possibilities for innovation on Montserrat on a visit to the island in 2015 in consultation with local stakeholders.
He said: “All segments of society in the OCTs were involved in drawing up the strategies: government, public bodies, business people, academics, scientists, banks, investors, not-for-profit organisations and individuals from every sector – agriculture, construction, the creative industry, energy, financial services, fisheries, food processing, IT, tourism, trade and transport.”
“A great job has been done, but a lot of the work to apply innovation strategies lies ahead. Progress made so far shows that OCT governments understand the crucial importance of innovation for their countries, and are ready to make the systemic innovation undertaking required to implement innovation across all segments of the economy and society.
OCTA Innovation Technical Assistance in the filed of agriculture is already going to Montserrat.
In parellel with actions to develop systemic innovation, the project is directly funding innovation initiatives. It has already secured EUR 1.5 million of EU funding for pilot projects as a first step towards implementing the strategies. “The European Union understands the importance of keeping the momentum of our innovation work and supporting the first steps of the action plans developed on the basis of the innovation strategies,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.
Participating territories 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.Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Wallis and Futuna.