(Photo Credit: BVI Government)
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has shared its response to the challenges of planning for sustainable development as a multi-island state in recovery at ECLAC’s 17th meeting of the Regional Council for Planning of ILPES in Montevideo, Uruguay from 29th – 30th August 2019.
Ms. Patlian Johnson, Recovery and Development Cooperation Specialist in the Premier’s Office, attended the meeting on behalf of the Territory that focused on public sector planning in the context of the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ms. Johnson presented to the Regional Council on a panel themed, ‘Planning for Resilience in Caribbean Countries,’ in which she discussed the recovery and long-term development of the BVI and balancing development across the islands that makeup the Territory.
Among other things, she shared the steps BVI Government is taking to improve access to public services across the islands in sectors such as healthcare, while ensuring access to the islands and between them by air and sea. She also emphasised the importance of the private sector in the provision of commercial services such as banking beyond the main island of Tortola.
The BVI’s National Physical Development Plan (NPDP), Draft BVI Green Energy Plan and Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund were highlighted as examples of planning and a mechanism established by the Government to build greater resilience in the Territory.
She subsequently joined representatives of other Caribbean countries for a meeting with the Head of ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena and Chief of ECLAC’s Caribbean Headquarters Mrs. Diane Quarless for a discussion on ECLAC’s support to the Caribbean sub-region.
Ms. Johnson also attended the 16th Conference of Ministers and Heads of Planning of Latin America and the Caribbean which took place a day earlier on 28th August on the theme, ‘Planning for Sustainable Territorial Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.’
Speaking on the BVI’s participation in the meetings, Ms. Johnson said, “The meetings were an important opportunity to share with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean the BVI’s progress and challenges in achieving sustainable development as we recover from the 2017 hurricanes and floods and to understand the approach other Governments are taking with respect to institutionalising medium and long-term planning in order to meet the sustainable development goals. I reiterated that small island developing states are highly vulnerable after a natural disaster, but that planning can help to mitigate this and in fact accelerate recovery.
She went on to say, “The medium and long-term technical assistance the BVI continues to receive from ECLAC via its Caribbean Headquarters and from the UNDP’s Barbados and OECS office in relation to blue economy, will greatly assist our planning efforts.”
The BVI is an Associate Member of ECLAC which is the United Nation’s regional commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Territory currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Caribbean Development Cooperation Committee (CDCC) that is ECLAC’s Permanent Subsidiary body for the Caribbean.