Representatives from the Virgin Islands attended recent United Nations forums on sustainable development and climate change as part of efforts to prepare for the implementation of the territory’s new National Sustainable Development Plan, according to a Monday press release from Benito Wheatley, special envoy of the premier.

From May 3-4, Finance Ministry economist Emery “Che” Pemberton attended the virtual 22nd Meeting of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s Executive Committee of the Statistical Conference of the Americas.

Among other topics, he and other attendees discussed using statistics to measure progress toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, especially amid the unstable economic conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean, the press release stated.

The UN goals — which all UN member states adopted in 2015 — include eliminating hunger and poverty, reducing inequality, and ensuring access to health care, quality education, clean water, and reasonable employment, among others.

“Using statistical indicators will be critical to measuring the progress we are making,” Mr. Pemberton said. “We also have to be very conscious of how the BVI’s climate vulnerability could set us back if we do not sufficiently build up our climate resilience and ability to recover quickly from hurricanes.”

Other meetings

The economist also attended the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, held from April 26-28 in Santiago, Chile.

There, he joined discussions on steps needed to accelerate progress toward the SDGs following the setbacks of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the press release.

Earlier in the month, Mr. Wheatley, the premier’s special envoy, attended UN ECLAC’s inaugural Summit of the Parliamentary Observatory on Climate Change and Just Transition (OPCC).

At the April 20 meeting, he reaffirmed the VI’s commitment as an OPCC chair and a small island developing state to “sharing best practices in environmental, climate and sustainable development legislation across Latin America and the Caribbean,” according to the press release.

Mr. Wheatley also told OPCC members that the VI will continue to advocate internationally for climate justice and the transition to low-carbon economies, the release added.

The VI is an associate member of ECLAC.