By Government of the British Virgin Islands
ROAD TOWN, BVI – The British Virgin Islands (BVI) secured support for 13 British, Dutch, French and United States (US) Territories in the Caribbean at the United Nations (UN) Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) regional preparatory meeting in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The regional preparatory brought together SIDS in the Caribbean, including the Associate Member Countries of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), to agree on priorities and identify needed international support to be included in the next SIDS international framework for sustainable development that will be agreed at the UN Fourth International Conference on Small Islands Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda in 2024.
In his intervention with participants, BVI representative Benito Wheatley, stated:
“What we are seeking at this meeting is support for the Associate Member Countries of ECLAC to qualify for international support to SIDS, which would provide us with some form of assistance in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the building of climate resilience. The Associate Member Countries also want to participate in the partnerships that will be offered to SIDS.”
Wheatley also successfully introduced a clause on the Associate Member Countries for inclusion in the outcome document that was adopted by all participants. According to the outcome document,
“We note the gaps in assistance to support Associate Members of ECLAC in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the need to reverse the impact of Covid-19 on their societies, as highlighted in the 2021 ECLAC High-Level Meeting of Associate Members. Furthermore, we acknowledge the Associate Members’ need for international support to achieve the SDGs, the SIDS sustainable development agenda, and to build climate resilience and call for international measures to Caribbean SIDS to be extended to them.”
Commenting on the solidarity and support expressed for the Associate Member Countries, Wheatley, said:
“I am grateful to my colleagues in the region for understanding that Caribbean Territories are also SIDS that need international support. By working together, all SIDS in the Caribbean, supported by our international partners, can help to create a more enabling international environment for SIDS to grow and develop sustainably and adapt to climate change.”
The Associate Member Countries of ECLAC include Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
The UN Caribbean SIDS Preparatory Meeting took place from 8-10 August 2023 and was attended by the representatives of Caribbean Governments, UN agencies, regional organisations and civil society organisations. UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs Li Junhua who serves as secretary-general of the Fourth International Conference on SIDS was also present.