Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
The Government of the Virgin Islands through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour has pledged to strengthen the knowledge of the status and locations of threatened plant species and habitats to facilitate more informed conservation management decisions.
The ministry will be working in collaboration with National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands and other international agencies to protect and sustain the flora and fauna in the British Virgin Islands following a workshop held on April 1.
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley addressed the workshop and stated that he hoped that other countries can learn from the work undertaken in the Virgin Islands and can serve as a model worldwide for the manner in which UK Overseas Territories have raised the profile of their biodiversity.
Honourable Wheatley said, “I anticipate that the sharing of information will be wide and will benefit our community and schools. As the minister responsible for the National Parks Trust, I pledge my continued support and anticipate that the partnership forged will serve as the springboard for future work, which highlights the diversity and richness of our Virgin Islands.”
The workshop was the final step of a process that started in April of 2016 that aimed to identify Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) in the BVI. The series of workshops from 2016 to 2018 led to the identification and mapping of a network of 18 TIPAs across 13 islands of the BVI by the BVI TIPAs national team, which consists of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI), and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.
The plant areas are a network of the most important sites for wild plants, fungi and threatened habitats identified internationally and nationally using the best available scientifically robust data. While the findings are informed suggestions, they inform the Government on conservation, protection and management of designated sites and they help to prevent the global loss of plant diversity, while fostering the role of plants as primary producers and providers of ecosystem infrastructure, products and services.
They also provide a framework for Governments to ensure the protection of at least 75% of the most important areas for plant diversity of each ecological region by 2020 with effective management in place for conserving plants and their genetic diversity. TIPAs also contribute to implementing practices that identify the causes of extinction of known threatened species and implementing prevention and conservation methods, particularly to the most threatened species to ensure their survival and sustainability.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour remains committed to effectively managing and administering the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long term sustainability, and to ensure that the supply of labour is commensurate with the level of development in all sectors of the economy under working conditions which preserve the individuals' health, safety, and welfare.