BVI And UN Sign Historic Country Implementation Plan
On August 17th, the first ever Country Implementation Plan (CIP) for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) was signed into existence. The CIP is the UN’s commitment to aiding small island developing states with the goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Andrew A. Fahie (Premier and Minister of Finance) and Didier Trebucq (United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Eastern Caribbean) signed the document in a virtual signing ceremony.
Key areas of cooperation
The CIP works as an annual official guideline for development cooperation between the BVI and UN. It outlines several key areas for cooperation. For example, the CIP aims to improve economic resilience with particular emphasis on helping small and medium businesses enter the “blue economy” (a concept which promotes better protection of the ocean or “blue” resources). Other key areas of cooperation include: strategic planning in order to meet the SDGs by 2030; making sustainable development financing more easily available for social development, climate resilience, and conservation of terrestrial and marine biodiversity; improving public services with better policy coordination and implementation; and improving pandemic response to better protect public health.
Sustainable construction has long been another important priority in the Virgin Islands. In particular, eco-friendly homes are designed with minimal disturbance to the environment. This involves using sustainable building materials, water conservation practices, and ethical construction methods. In turn, this helps ensure environmental preservation and energy efficiency. In the Caribbean, sustainable construction methods are already the norm since using local island resources efficiently has always been a necessity. For example, builders avoid cutting down trees to clear room for construction and use bamboo, wood, and other local materials, as well as solar and wind power.
A strong partnership
“Today is another example of how the UN is joining hands with the BVI through a multi-dimensional approach to sustainable development,” commented Didier Trebucq on the UN’s commitment to supporting the BVI. “As the UN system, we value this cooperation immensely. We are working together to provide BVI with a tailored set of development solutions to meet their various specific needs and priorities,” he said.
Andrew Fahie also stressed the value of UN support in these challenging times.
“This is a pivotal moment in the BVI’s relationship with the UN as we approach the height of the hurricane season,” Fahie said. “At our most vulnerable point in the season, we are managing COVID-19 and at the same time developing a framework for the long-term sustainable development of our islands. I feel more reassured knowing that we have the support of the UN system during these very uncertain and challenging times.”
The United Nations Development Program, World Food Program, UNICEF, Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean are now all working with the BVI government to help implement the CIP. Ultimately, the BVI government and the UN Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Resident Coordinator Office plan to continue to strengthen their working relationship in order to help the territory achieve the SDGs.