25 March 2013

Virgin Islands Joins United Nations Global Island Partnership

Government of the British Virgin Islands

Last month the Virgin Islands (VI) officially joined the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) in a move that is expected to strengthen Government’s efforts to preserve the natural environment and accelerate the sustainable development of the Territory.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering, made the announcement  at the GLISPA 2013 Steering Committee Meeting in Washington, DC.

In an interview with the Department of Information and Public Relations, Honourable Pickering said, “GLISPA is a United Nations (UN) recognised partnership and a platform for islands to cooperate on conserving their biodiversity and to promote sustainable development.”

He added, “There is a great deal that we can learn from our GLISPA partners and much that we can offer in terms of the work we have done here in the Territory in the area of environmental management.”

Speaking on the benefits of GLISPA, the Deputy Premier said, “Around the world islands are doing innovative things to grow sustainably. We can benefit from the UN’s experience with Small Island Developing States and the experience of our island partners in GLISPA who are successfully meeting the challenges faced by islands as they grow.”

“In the Pacific for example, Hawaii is doing a number of interesting things as it pertains to green growth, while Seychelles in the Indian Ocean has made substantial progress in managing its marine protected areas and building local awareness on biodiversity and promoting sustainable fisheries. We will be engaging them in the future on best practices in these areas,” he expounded.

The meeting brought together officials from a number of United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments to discuss GLISPA’s strategic plan for 2013. The 2013 strategic plan will focus on strengthening the link between sustainable development and conservation under the theme blue/green growth; and preparing for the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa in 2014.

In the margins of the meeting Honourable Pickering, held individual meetings with representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). He also met with Hawaii and Seychelles officials.

Honourable Pickering capped off his visit with a presentation on the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) at a High Level Briefing organised by GLISPA.

The Deputy Premier was joined by Senior Political and Public Affairs Officer at the BVI London Office, Mr. Benito Wheatley.

GLISPA was formed in 2006 to help islands address the conservation and sustainability of their natural resources in support of their people, cultures and livelihoods. It is recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as a partnership to advance the implementation of the CBD 2010 biodiversity target, to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, and the programmes of work on island biodiversity and protected areas.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour envisions sound stewardship of our human and natural resources by implementing a legal framework that fosters environmentally-friendly best management practices.

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