Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
The Cabinet of the Virgin Islands has approved The Strategic Blue Economy Roadmap, which was developed with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on 30 November.
The Blue Economy Roadmap sets out an integrated approach to ocean-based sustainable development, which brings together economy, environment and society, consistent with the Sustainable Development Agenda (2030), Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015).
The Blue Economy Roadmap outlines the direction and development pathways for future investment in and development of a sustainable ocean-based economy in the Virgin Islands. Specifically, the roadmap aims to create a revitalisation process that results in healthy ecosystems that are able to sustain growth in a number of economic sectors and provide an opportunity for building equitable societies.
Over time, this revitalisation will support the development of new sectors attracting greater investment and financial support to the blue economy resulting in a greater number of businesses supported by the blue economy. Strategic management of institutions that focus on sustainable development, and enabled by an innovative and skilled private sector will support the revitalisation of the Blue Economy.
Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Mervin Hastings said, “The Virgin Islands total land area equates to about 153 km2, alternatively we have the rights and responsibilities to 80,117 km2 of ocean real estate (some 500 times more than our land real estate). Like so many other small islands developing state, we are very dependent on our oceans and the sectors in which they support. Sectors such as Fisheries and Tourism play an important economic role in the Virgin Islands and with the passing of the Virgin Islands Strategic Blue Economy Road Map, we are hopeful for the advancement and development of new ocean-based sectors while at the same time ensuring our ocean’s sustainable use.”
The Virgin Islands’ vision for the blue economy is to develop the blue economy as a means to promote sustainable economic growth while protecting and enhancing the habitats and resources that underpin that growth through improved environmental governance and stewardship, better education and an improved understanding of our shared marine space. Our shared marine space can be categorised in six thematic areas: 1) Enabling conditions 2) Maritime tourism 3) Fisheries 4) Aquaculture 5) Marine information and science needs 6) New and emerging opportunities. Each of these thematic areas has a defined Specific Development Objective (SDO) with each SDO having a series of "Results Areas" that will be achieved through specific activities.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour continues to manage the natural resources of the Territory in a manner that ensures long-term sustainability.