UN visit
Virgin Islands officials met last week with representatives from 10 United Nations agencies for talks on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. (Photo: GIS)

Delegates from 10 United Nations agencies visited the Virgin Islands last week to meet with leaders about how they can help the territory meet its pledge to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

In a three-day session that started June 13, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley hosted Didier Trebucq, the UN resident coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, as well as several UN heads of agencies, according to Government Information Services.

Their main goal was to advance implementation of the territory’s Country Implementation Plan, an agreement signed in August 2021 that details areas where the UN will provide technical assistance toward achieving the SDG targets, GIS stated.

The SDGs — 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.

Dr. Wheatley said the ongoing collaboration — which includes such high-level meetings on a regular basis — will strengthen the territory’s development capacity.

“I am appreciative of the United Nations’ support in mobilising critical resources, as we collectively seek to transform the social, political and economic framework of the Virgin Islands in a manner that confronts the unique challenges that we face,” he said, adding, “I am looking forward to the positive actions that will result from our engagement on implementing the Country Implementation Plan.”

The UN delegates also met with permanent secretaries and opposition members in order to assess stakeholders’ priorities, according to GIS.


Among other topics, meeting attendees discussed the government’s partnership with the UN and avenues through which additional funding can be accessed, according to GIS.

The talks also touched on acquiring more technical support aimed at increasing human resource capabilities in the VI as part of efforts to promote sustainable socioeconomic expansion, government added.

Areas identified for additional technical assistance included migration and immigration policy; youth policy revision; student feeding programme design; social protection and support for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, women and youth; a sustainable energy audit; an energy transition policy for a low-carbon economy; collection and use of data; design of a national pension plan; design of an unemployment scheme; innovative financing; and implementation of the National Sustainable Development Plan, according to a press release from Premier’s Special Envoy Benito Wheatley.

The UN delegation also toured Tortola and Virgin Gorda to assess the progress of the recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

UN agencies

The UN agencies represented included the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; the UN Development Programme; the UN Children’s Fund; the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation; the International Labour Organisaton; the World Food Programme; the UN Population Fund; the International Organisation for Migration; the Food and Agricultural Organisation; and the Resident Coordinator’s Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, according to Mr. Wheatley.