Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley said that he is pleased that the partnership that was built to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Territory is continuing to produce results.
The ecosystem accounting partnership was formed in 2019 and plans are now in place to publish the 2020 ecosystem accounts to provide evidence to support environmental and economic management for the Territory.
Honourable Wheatley said, “The 2020 ecosystem accounts continue to build on the information gathered on the 2019 ecosystem accounts on the state of coastal, marine and terrestrial habitats and their direct benefits to several sectors of our economy.”
The minister added, “It is also crucial that we continue to build our local capacity to engage in ecosystem accounting. Local practitioners have the opportunity to take full advantage of the training that will take place while the team from EFTEC [Economics For The Environment Consultancy Limited] are in the Territory, which will then improve our future capacity to update the national green accounts for the Territory.”
Meanwhile, a two-member team of Mr. Jake Kuyer and Ms. Sophie Neupauer from the Economics For The Environment Consultancy Limited (EFTEC) will visit the Virgin Islands from Monday, February 21 to Friday, February 25 to observe key environmental sites, conduct ecosystem accounting training to the local technocrats and to officially hand over the 2020 ecosystem accounts.
Mr. Jake Kuyer said the team is excited to have the opportunity to visit the Virgin Islands, and experience the amazing natural setting and local culture that they have been looking into for the past years in support of developing the Virgin Islands first national Ecosystem Account.
Mr. Kuyer said, “In putting the account together, we have worked with the Government to better understand the value that the environment provides to the Virgin Islands, and how it can be managed alongside the economy to contribute sustainable prosperity to the people of the Virgin Islands.”
He said the team looks forward to presenting the results and handing over the Ecosystem Accounts to government practitioners and meeting many of the people who they have been working with over the years.
Team member Ms. Sophie Neupauer said, “After two years of working with the Government of the Virgin Islands to build the Ecosystem Accounts, we are really excited to visit in order to continue building awareness and provide technical training for local practitioners to continue to generate Ecosystem Accounts for the Virgin Islands into the future.”
The account was developed with financial support from the Darwin Initiative (funded by the UK Government) and delivered through a partnership between EFTEC, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour, and Immigration as a part of the “Caribbean Overseas Territories Regional Natural Capital Accounting Programme”. Support is also provided across five Caribbean Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands).
For more details on the Virgin Islands 2019 Ecosystem Account please find the full report on the Government’s webpage at https://bvi.gov.vg/content/virgin-islands-2019-ecosystem-account-summary.
Link to full report: https://bvi.gov.vg/content/virgin-islands-2019-ecosystem-account-summary
Photo 1: Official photo of Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley