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Press Release From Independent Source

VI renews call for grants under SIDS initiative

Special Envoy of the Premier Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Mr E. Benito Wheatley has renewed the Virgin Islands’ (VI) call for inclusion in international support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the High-Level Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2019. Photo: Provided
NEW YORK, USA - Special Envoy of Premier Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), Mr E. Benito Wheatley has renewed the Virgin Islands’ (VI) call for inclusion in international support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the High-Level Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2019.

According to a press release today October 2, 2019, from the Special Envoy, Mr. Wheatley said in a statement to the meeting, “The recovery of our islands remains fragile as we rebuild our society after the catastrophic damage caused by two category five storms. We have been greatly concerned as of late by the succession of hurricanes and tropical storms that have narrowly missed us in recent weeks.”

He went on to say that on the question of international support to the BVI, “The British Virgin Islands per capita income was considered too high to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants from international donors, despite the two catastrophic events that damaged 85% of our building structures.”

He also highlighted the ongoing problem of limited access to international funds to address climate change and biodiversity which remain key areas of concern.

“It is unfortunate that the British Virgin Islands continues to be denied access to the Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Fund that could assist greatly in helping us build greater resilience. We all must keep in mind that the effects of climate change and degradation of biodiversity do not discriminate based on political status or income level,” Wheatley said.

The Special Envoy also insisted that “The British Virgin Islands will continue to advocate for greater access and inclusion in international support to SIDS. However, the existing constraints in the international architecture necessitate that we also continue to seek out new partnerships to meet our objectives of climate resilience and sustainable development.”

He thanked UNDP and ECLAC for their ongoing technical assistance to help the territory meet the sustainable development goals and optimize its marine potential.

The High-Level Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway addressed progress on implementation of the framework in the case of SIDS as a special case for international support.

Mr Wheatley also attended the Climate Strong Islands Dialogue co-organised by the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) for which the BVI is a co-Chair.

1 Response to “VI renews call for grants under SIDS initiative ”

  • E. Leonard (06/10/2019, 20:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wikipedia defines SIDS as: “Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of small island countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on international trade, and fragile environments.

    Their growth and development is also held back by high communication, energy and transportation costs, irregular international transport volumes, disproportionately expensive public administration and infrastructure due to their small size, and little to no opportunity to create economies of scale.”

    The VI (BVI) definitely falls within this definition. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs lists 57 SIDS, including BVI.

    “Despite the major disasters caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria which devastated the territory, the BVI remains excluded on the SIDS list because of its per capita income which is considered to be too high to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA) grants from international donors.” Per capita income can be a misleading number (typically it is national income divided by the population). Typically, it is often used to measure an area’s standard of living. The VI’s GDP per capita income is ~$34K (2017). Clearly, the BVI is being negatively penalized for this number.




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