The Virgin Islands helped secure support for 13 British, Dutch, French and United States territories in the Caribbean at the recent United Nations Caribbean Small Island Developing States Regional Preparatory Meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, according to a press release from Benito Wheatley, the premier’s special envoy.

Mr. Wheatley attended the Aug. 8-10 meeting along with other representatives of Caribbean small island developing states, known as SIDS, including the associate member countries of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among other agenda items, attendees identified international support needs to be included in the next SIDS international framework for sustainable development, which will be agreed at the UN Fourth International Conference on SIDS in Antigua and Barbuda in 2024, the release stated.

Wheatley speech

At the meeting, Mr. Wheatley delivered an intervention to participants on behalf of the VI.

“What we are seeking at this meeting is support for the associate member countries of ECLAC to qualify for international support to SIDS, which would provide us with some form of assistance in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the building of climate resilience,” he said. “The associate member countries also want to participate in the partnerships that will be offered to SIDS.”

Additionally, Mr. Wheatley successfully introduced a clause that included the associate member countries in the outcome document that ultimately was adopted by all participants, according to his press release.

That clause states, “We note the gaps in assistance to support associate members of ECLAC in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the need to reverse the impact of Covid-19 on their societies, as highlighted in the 2021 ECLAC High-Level Meeting of Associate Members. Furthermore, we acknowledge the associate members’ need for international support to achieve the [UN Sustainable Development Goals and] the SIDS’ sustainable development agenda, and to build climate resilience and call for international measures to Caribbean SIDS to be extended to them.”

‘Working together’

Mr. Wheatley said he was grateful for his Caribbean colleagues’ support for the region’s territories.

“By working together, all SIDS in the Caribbean, supported by our international partners, can help to create a more enabling international environment for SIDS to grow and develop sustainably and adapt to climate change,” he added.

Besides the VI, the associate member countries of ECLAC include Anguilla, Aruba, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States VI.

Meeting attendees included representatives of Caribbean governments, UN agencies, regional organisations, and civil society organisations.

Also present was Li Junhua, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs. Mr. Li also serves as the secretary general of the Fourth International Conference on SIDS.