British Virgin Islands, (BVI) – Premier and minister of finance, Dr Natalio Wheatley said the launch of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) marks a significant milestone in the Territory’s political and socioeconomic development.
In his remarks at the launch referred to the plan as “the people’s plan”, since its formulation was based on extensive public input by a wide cross-section of the Virgin Islands society, inclusive of the business community, non-profit organisation, communities, and governmental sectors.
“We have finally arrived at this juncture after many calls over the years for a national plan,” the premier stated, adding, “It has been delivered as promised after a little more than three and a half years after first being initiated in July 2019 through engagement with ECLAC.”
The overall objective of the plan themed ‘Vision 2036: Building a Sustainable Virgin Islands is to serve as a guide to ensure the holistic long-term growth and sustainable development of the Virgin Islands, which will bolter present and future generations.
“I am highly confident that together we will realise our shared vision of transforming these islands into the economically, socially and environmentally balanced home that we desire and future generations deserve,” premier Wheatley said.
The premier further stated that the successful execution of the plan will also require collaborative efforts and commitment from the private sector, civic organisations, religious institutions, civil society and local communities.
He encouraged the public to familiarise itself with the National Sustainable Development Plan as it is now a critical component of the nation-building process and represents an opportunity to go even further in strengthening its institutions and building its resilience.
The premier extended gratitude to chief of the ECLAC sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean Diane Quarless whom he said promoted the public good of British Virgin Islands and the 12 other Associate Member Countries (AMCs) of ECLAC, in efforts to strengthen its relationship with the UN.
Quarless was instrumental in coordinating the provision of technical assistance by ECLAC, in addition to facilitating deeper engagement within regional forums to ensure that the interests of the VI are represented.
The National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) emphasises good governance; economy; infrastructure; environment; health and wellness; and education and learning, and it is directly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the UN, whose agencies will be supporting these efforts.
The implementation will be facilitated by the Sustainable Development Goals National Coordinating Committee (SDGNCC) that will be led by permanent secretary in the premier’s office Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe and co-chaired by acting permanent secretary in the ministry of natural resources and labour Joseph Smith-Abbott.
The committee is comprised of permanent secretaries, the financial secretary, and members of the civil groups.
The premier’s office continues to function as an interface between the international community and the government, focusing on specific socio-economic needs and areas for continued sustainable development.