Special Envoy Benito Wheatley. Photo courtesy of bvinews.com.

ROAD TOWN, BVI – The British Virgin Islands (BVI) led regional discussions on the United Nations (UN) comparative advantage to help the Caribbean meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Discussions took place during a virtual regional strategic consultation workshop on May 21, hosted by the United Nations system in the Caribbean to support the preparation of the United Nations Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 (MSDCF) for the region.

The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, Benito Wheatley, chaired a special session of the consultative workshop working group comprising 14 Caribbean countries and territories; six United Nations agencies including UNESCO, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, UN Women, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Program United Nations for the Environment (UNEP); and five regional partners including the Caribbean Community CARICOM, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Institute for Research and Caribbean Agricultural Development (CARDI) and the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Participants discussed UN forces, as well as areas where the UN system can improve its approach in the region. Delegates from the governments represented underlined the value of the UN as a Caribbean partner, as well as regional organizations and institutions, whose support will be essential to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic and put the region back on track. to achieve the SDGs.

The meeting was co-chaired by Mikiko Tanaka, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, and supported by Jessica Chandnandi, team leader in the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Suriname.

Commenting on the working group session, Wheatley said: “It was a very important exercise as the region looks to the future. The crisis is becoming the norm for the Caribbean, which will emerge more vulnerable from the pandemic. The United Nations is a critical partner both in our recovery as a group of small island developing States and in achieving the SDGs by 2030. Building consensus on the region’s basic needs, such as assistance technical and funding, and identifying areas where the United Nations can best help meet those needs and strengthen its current approach, was very important.

“The British Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean will benefit from United Nations support that will be provided to the region under a new MSDCF. The British Virgin Islands will continue to participate in the ongoing United Nations consultation process, which reflects Prime Minister Andrew A. Fahie’s strong commitment to our engagement with the United Nations system.

Prior to the regional strategic consultation workshop, the Special Envoy participated in an MSDCF regional planning meeting for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean on May 18. He also attended meetings of the Regional Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on social issues. Development, which included the May 19 meeting of the Working Group on Regional Cooperation and Integration and the May 26 meeting of the Leaving No One Behind Working Group in the Caribbean.

BVI is Vice-President of the ECLAC Regional Conference on Social Development and also Vice-President of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), a subsidiary body of ECLAC. The regional commission is currently assisting the government of the British Virgin Islands in the preparation of a national sustainable development plan.

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