The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has initiated the implementation of its Blue Economy Roadmap, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From November 20 – 24, 2023, meetings were conducted with key stakeholders representing the public sector, private sector, and non-government organisations (NGOs) as part of a comprehensive consultancy led by Blue Economy international expert, Mr. Jonathan McCue, focusing on sustainable ocean governance, financing strategies, and capacity building.
The Roadmap was developed in 2019, with technical assistance from the UNDP, and approved by Cabinet in December 2022. It serves as a means of harmonizing the Virgin Islands’ approach to marine planning and governance and provides an overarching framework to manage the marine space and associated resources and activities.
The Roadmap identifies sustainable financing, policy reform and capacity building as key enablers. Therefore, the implementation plan includes actions for exploring diverse financing sources and partnerships with private and public entities; initiatives for training public and non-public sector individuals on Blue Economy topics; and designing long-term community outreach and awareness programmes. Emphasis is also placed on policy reform to support private sector implementation of emerging blue technology solutions.
National Coordinator for the UNDP Project Office in the BVI, Ms. Patlian Johnson stated, “This roadmap and implementation plan represents a significant step towards the protection of the ocean and the sustainable use of its resources for improving livelihoods, providing employment opportunities, and promoting economic growth. UNDP is pleased to partner with the BVI Government on operationalising the roadmap and looks forward to providing additional support as implementation gathers momentum.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley thanked UNDP for its continued support. He said, “The Ministry will lead on implementation, but will employ a multi-stakeholder approach to realising the outcomes of the Roadmap. I fundamentally believe that this focused implementation plan – which identifies some key actions – will be the building blocks for further work that will allow us to pave the way for a harmonious coexistence of a healthy ocean and economic prosperity.”
The Virgin Islands’ structured plan for the implementation of the Blue Economy Roadmap includes detailed activities, timelines, resource allocation, and roles and responsibilities along with a set of performance indicators to track progress.
The Government is set to embark on this journey, with immediate next steps including:
• Formalising potential funding arrangements and initiating value chain analysis studies.
• Developing a National Ocean Policy and Marine Spatial Plans.
• Establishing and operationalizing the National Ocean Governance Committees.
• Launching training programs and public awareness campaigns.
• Progressing with policy reforms and technology adoptions.
This integrated approach to ocean-based sustainable development brings together economy, environment, and society, and is consistent with the Sustainable Development Agenda (2030), Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015).
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