The Government of the Virgin Islands is continuing the discussion on approaches to cope with climate change following the recently concluded 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering represented the Territory at the conference and held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Aruba, Honourable Mike Eman at the end of the conference.
The Deputy Premier shared with the Prime Minister the various climate change and wider environmental challenges facing the BVI, including a prolonged drought earlier this year and the groundswell of sargassum that has inundated the Caribbean basin. Honourable Pickering also highlighted the main features of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund as a mechanism by which to generate sustainable financing for climate change adaptation activities and other measures to protect the environment.
Minister Pickering said, “The great challenge for small island developing states in addressing climate change is securing sustainable financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund will help to overcome this problem in the BVI context and we are prepared to share the legal and financial framework that has been developed with other islands such as Aruba in the Caribbean and those in other regions.”
Prime Minister Eman discussed Aruba’s advances in renewable energy development and the island’s ultimate goal of eventually generating all power from renewable energy sources.
The leaders agreed that it was important for the two territories to give updates on each other’s progress in these areas and best practices on climate change mitigation and adaptation measures for mutual benefit.
Minister Pickering attended the UNFCCC COP21 in December where world leaders agreed to a global climate change deal. He was joined by BVI London Office Director, Mr. Benito Wheatley.