Premier and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development Honourable Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley said that the VI-UN Sustainable Development Forum proved to be instrumental in ensuring that the Territory achieves its development goals.
The forum hosted by the Government of the Virgin Islands from June 13 to 15 allowed for United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Didier Trebucq and several UN Heads of Agencies to reaffirm their commitment to support Government-led initiatives towards securing a more sustainable future, thorough the provision of technical assistance and policy coordination.
Premier Wheatley said, “I am appreciative of the United Nations’ support in mobilising critical resources, as we collectively to seek to transform the social, political and economic framework of the Virgin Islands, in a manner that confronts the unique challenges that we face.”
The Premier added, “This cooperation between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the UN Agencies represented here will ultimately contribute to strengthening our institutional capacity to mitigate against national development issues. I am looking forward to the positive actions that will result from our engagement on implementing the Country Implementation Plan (CIP).”
The Country Implementation Plan is a multi-faceted framework that details a specialised institutional system, tailored to the Virgin Islands that directly addresses national concerns and regional priorities. The plan functions as the official framework for collaboration between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the United Nations.
This collaboration involves the occurrence of high-level meetings occurring on a continuous basis, to ensure that the Virgin Islands is on course to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
In addition to the existing partnership that currently obtains between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the United Nations, the forum provided the opportunity for the exploration of avenues through which additional funding can be accessed.
Discussions also focused on acquiring additional technical support, aimed at increasing human resource capabilities of the Virgin Islands people, in efforts to promote sustainable socio-economic expansion. The UN delegation’s current and future support will lead to enhanced economic and social conditions that will improve resilience, and reinforce the Government’s ability to respond holistically to the Territory’s needs.
The delegation also met with Permanent Secretaries and members of the Opposition, in order to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the priority areas of stakeholders.
In addition to the UN Resident Coordinator Office, the UN agencies that were involved in forum included the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to fostering national political, economic, and social development in the Territory.