UN supports BVI call for resilience in its Caribbean programmes

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The United Nations (UN) has welcomed the British Virgin Islands’ (BVI’s) recommendation that “resilience” feature in all UN programmes implemented in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean which are aimed at accelerating sustainable development.

The recommendation was made at the recent inaugural Joint-Steering Committee meeting of the Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF) for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

In his intervention at the meeting, BVI Representative to the UN and Special Envoy of the Premier, Benito Wheatley, stated, “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is the aspiration of all Caribbean Countries and Territories, but there is a risk that the progress we are making with generous UN support could be wiped out by a hurricane or other natural disaster such as an earthquake of volcanic eruption. Thus, it is imperative that all UN agencies in the development assistance they are delivering factor in resilience. As a subregion, we have to build up our capacity to bounce back from natural disasters while striving to achieve the SDGs.”

The recommendation was accepted by the co-chairs of the Joint Steering Committee: UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mr. Didier Trebucq and Barbados Minister of State Senator Dr. Hon. Shantal Munro-Knight; and integrated into the outcomes of the meeting.

Wheatley also reaffirmed the BVI’s commitment to engagement with the UN and confirmed that the BVI Government is very pleased with the Territory’s cooperation with the UN Development System, including benefitting from:

UN Joint Programme: “Resilient Caribbean: Engaging & Training Youth and Strengthening Integrated Social Protection Sector Delivery,” through which UNICEF is assisting the BVI Government with a review of its social assistance programmes and how they can be improved.
UN FUT-Tourism Programme: “Rethinking Tourism and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises,” which has awarded several grants to local BVI businesses.
UN Covid-19 response for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean
UN Joint Programme: “Social Protection and employability promotion to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19,” which provided a grant of $362,000 to help fund the BVI Government’s Income Support Programme for persons affected by Covid-19.

He also thanked the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for deploying consultants to assist the BVI Government with the development of a National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), and commended the work of the World Food Programme (WFP) in assisting the BVI with developing a social registry and strengthening social protection policies and systems. Additionally, the BVI’s UN Representative praised the work of the UNDP BVI Office that has been highly responsive to the needs of the Territory, especially regarding assistance to small businesses, support for e-government and sustainable development.

The purpose of the meeting held on Jan. 24 was to officially establish the MSDCF Joint Steering Committee, review the results achieved thus far under the MSDCF (2022-2026), and to discuss implementation challenges and recommended adjustments. The MSDCF was approved in 2022 by the UN Development System and Caribbean Governments to guide the programmatic work of the UN in the region.

Wheatley was joined by Assistant Secretary for External Affairs Dwynel Davies.

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