Information Officer II
Dept. of Information & Public Relations
Telephone: 468- 2740
The First Board of Trustees of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund was officially installed yesterday July 17.
Minister for Natural Resources, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering presented the trustees with their instruments of appointment at the inaugural meeting of the board.
Speaking on the significance of the trust fund to the future of the Virgin Islands, Honourable Pickering said, “There are milestones in the development of any country, and there are turning points that determine the destiny of a place under shifting circumstances. In a global era defined by climate change, the establishment of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund and now the installment of its first Board of Trustees is one such marker for the Virgin Islands.”
The Minister for Natural Resources stated that the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund will be of great importance in ensuring a sustainable flow of financing from local and international sources to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Territory.
Minister Pickering added, “By providing a secure and transparent mechanism for investment, the trust fund positions the Virgin Islands to access and manage climate financing available through local levies, private donors and foundations, bilateral arrangements and hopefully, eventually the Green Climate Fund and other instruments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change umbrella, as the Government continues to work to ensure the Virgin Islands access.”
The Climate Change Trust Fund is an independent body established by law in March 2015 to raise, manage and administer funds to support local actions to respond to climate change. The trust fund was established with the assistance of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. The trust fund is governed at its highest level by a Board of Trustees which makes all final decisions in relation to the fund, including which projects and programmes are funded.
Board members were appointed in keeping with the requirements of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act, 2015 following a competitive public application and nomination process that started in early 2016. Appointed board members are:
- Mr. Edward Childs as Chairperson and representing any sector responsible for making contributions to the Fund;
- Mr. John Klein as Deputy Chairperson and the private sector representative of the tourism industry;
- Ms. Karen Fraser as the private sector representative of the financial services sector;
- Dr. Katherine Smith representing the academic and research organisation sector;
- Dr. Shannon Gore representing non-governmental or community based organisations; and
- Mr. Ronnie Lettsome in the capacity of an individual with relevant knowledge, experience and expertise.
Ex-officio members of the board include the Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat of the Trust Fund (to be appointed) as well as the Financial Secretary, Mr. Glenroy Forbes, and the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley. These members will serve as part of the system of checks and balances to ensure trust fund monies are used for the intended public purpose.
The Climate Change Trust Fund is structured to meet international standards and as such is governed by central principles, including independence, transparency, fair and equitable access, responsible resource management, and blended funding sources.
Once operational, the fund will issue grants to non-governmental organisations, registered associations, academic organisations, businesses and Government to fund projects and programmes. The programmes are expected to reduce climate change impacts to the environment, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, infrastructure, communities and human health and enhance energy, water security and insurance coverage. The fund will also finance actions to increase energy efficiency and adopt renewable energy.
Honourable Pickering thanked the first members of the board for their noble service and highlighted the importance of leading the charge over the next few years to make the fund operational.
“You are in a position right now to help carve out a space for us here in the Virgin Islands,” he said, adding, “It is a space that the Government can’t carve any farther, we have done our part. We have now engineered it to as far as we can go and we are now putting the baton in your hand and saying, run your leg of the race and take us to the next leg of the journey.”
Following the installation and departure of the Minister, the members of the board discussed its formal business including development of the Trust Fund’s Operational Manual that will govern all of its activities as well as the operationalisation plan for the fund.
Photo attached: Mr. Glenroy Forbes, Ms. Karen Fraser, Mr. Edward Childs, Mr. Ronald Smith-Berkeley, Dr. Hon. Kedrick Pickering, Mr. Ronnie Lettsome, Dr. Katherine Smith, Dr. Shannon Gore and Mr. John Klein. (Photo Credit: Department of Information and Public Relations/ GIS)