Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull pledged the commitment of Virgin Islands to do its part and work towards the sustainable development 2030 agenda as he gave his statement at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
The Exclusive Economic Zone was in focus as Minister Turnbull listed the different ways that the Virgin Islands is working towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. He said, “The Territory has articulated its aspirations for the sustainable use of the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone guided by the UNDP-led technical assistance for the development of the Blue Economy Road Map in 2019. The Road map is well grounded in the Sustainable Development Goals’ 2030 Agenda. We express our appreciation to our partners UNDP and the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for the continued support, especially after the 2017 hurricanes in developing this national blue economy framework.”
He added, “The Government of the Virgin Islands has several priorities, which are to support the sustainable development of the maritime tourism sub-sector; develop the existing fisheries sector; improve the existing knowledge base around the marine environment and the capacity to undertake future research; and explore new and emerging opportunities that could be developed in the British Virgin Islands”.
Minister Turnbull issued the call to action for partnership from regional and international partners to work towards the SDG 2030 agenda and the difficulties that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Large Ocean States (LOS) like the Virgin Islands face in preserving and maintaining their natural resources. He said, “The British Virgin Islands stands ready to add its voice to the continuing dialogue as to the true contribution that Large Ocean States make to meeting the 2030 agenda. Growth and sustainable use of marine resources for this and for future generations must realise the full potential of our Exclusive Economic Zone, which in turn will provide greater opportunities for the engagement of national stakeholders in the blue economy.”
He added, “The British Virgin Islands as a Large Ocean State also faces the challenge of other SIDS in monitoring and policing the vastness of our marine space. Illegal fishing is a problem, which we must tackle. Cooperation with our neighbours and international partners on satellite surveillance and coastguard patrols will be critical to addressing this challenge.”
The full statement from Honourable Melvin Turnbull can be viewed on the Government’s website at www.bvi.gov.vg.
The Government of the Virgin Islands through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour continues to effectively manage and administer the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long-term sustainability.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photo 1: Official photo of Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull
(Photo credit: GIS)