Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering has said that the Government of the Virgin Islands will place a premium on conserving and sustaining its resources to the Territory’s sustainable development.
Honourable Pickering highlighted the importance of SDG14—(conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources) to the sustainable development of the BVI, at a symposium on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Bahamas in February.
The Deputy Premier said, “While the SDGs are many, we will be placing a premium on SDG14 which will have the broadest impact on our society on account of the importance the sea and ocean play in our economic and social development. As a tourism economy, we are focusing on the sustainability of this sector which provides for the bulk of employment and GDP.
The Minister added that focus will be placed on the management of the Territory’s coastal and nearshore environment, conservation of its marine biodiversity and governance of its marine space. This, he said, will be done under the banner of sustainable tourism.
Honourable Pickering pledged the BVI’s support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reiterated his call for the international community to support the sustainable development of small island developing states such as BVI, regardless of political status.
He commended the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for their responsiveness to the needs of Associate Members and inclusion of the BVI in the granting of technical assistance to implement the SDGs and other initiatives.
The Deputy Premier said he welcomed the symposium and that it was critical that the BVI remain engaged with its international partners in the UN system on best practices in sustainable development as greater steps are taken toward the overall sustainability of the society.
He added, “There is much that we can gain from international exchanges in this regard which can be applied in the BVI context. The international community is supportive and I welcome collaboration with our partners to meet our sustainable development objectives.”
The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015 in New York. The aim of the SDGs is to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda in the lead up to 2030.
The BVI is currently a Vice Chair of the Caribbean Development Coordination Committee, a permanent subsidiary of ECLAC for the Caribbean.