The extension of an agreement between the Virgin Islands and the United Nations Development Programme will see the territory receive support for sustainable development, the Covid-19 recovery, the blue economy and disaster-risk reduction, according to government.

Premier Andrew Fahie and UN Assistant Secretary-General Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva agreed to extend the VI-UNDP Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation — which originally was signed on Nov. 2, 2020 — until November 2023.

“The Virgin Islands’ partnership with UNDP has been tremendously helpful to progressing the sustainable development of the society,” Mr. Fahie said. “In the first year we benefitted from two UNDP workshops that highlighted available UNDP assistance to the VI in the event of a natural disaster; a UNDP grant was given to one of our local small businesses participating in the UNDP FUT-Tourism; and UNDP has committed to forthcoming technical assistance in the area of blue economy early in 2022.”

Mr. Fahie added that UN support also will help the territory complete its National Sustainable Development Plan.

In a letter to the premier, Mr. Lopez-Calva, who is also the UNDP regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, spoke similarly.

“We believe this partnership can be instrumental to unlocking opportunities for the achievement of the SDGs and 2030 agenda, including mainstreaming the SDGs in national policies and plans, accelerating their implementation and providing technical assistance for sectoral analysis, promotion of blue economy and other relevant activities such as addressing socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 and other external shocks such as natural disasters, financial crisis or pandemics,” he wrote.

Valerie Cliff, UNDP resident representative in the Eastern Caribbean subregion, issued a statement highlighting the potential for the VI and UNDP relationship to serve as a model partnership between the UN and small island developing states.

“The Virgin Islands are a regional champion in many areas related to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promoting resilience in the Eastern Caribbean,” Ms. Cliff noted. “For UNDP, this partnership is an opportunity to unlock opportunities and mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals in national plans.”