The Virgin Islands Climate Change Programme

The Virgin Islands is responding to climate change through its comprehensive Climate Change Programme managed by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change and the multi-sector Climate Change Committee. The Climate Change Programme focuses on better understanding climate change impacts, educating the public, adapting to climate change impacts and reducing local greenhouse gas emissions.

This webpage is maintained by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change and provides information about climate change in The Virgin Islands and the local response.

Understanding Climate Change Impacts

The Virgin Islands is a Caribbean British Overseas Territory located in the heart of the hurricane belt. As a small island chain that depends heavily on fragile natural resources, The Virgin Islands is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper and its Snapshot version describe in detail climate change impacts expected across 12 key sectors in the Territory. The Virgin Islands Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment of the Tourism Sector to Climate Change focuses on impacts anticipated in this critical economic sector.  These documents are based on scientific literature review, local assessments and stakeholder consultations.

Of important note is that The Virgin Islands is already experiencing changes and costly impacts associated with climate change.  For instance:

  • Record-breaking Category 5 Hurricane Irma directly hit the Territory in 2017, being the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the history of the Atlantic hurricane record. The total cost of Hurricane Irma was nearly 200% of GDP and set back development goals by several years. The Territory is still in active recovery.
  • More extremes in rainfall – Since 2003 there have been several major flood events, including multiple 100-year events. This represents an unprecedented frequency and carries high costs with the impact of singular events being close to USD $20 million. The Territory has also been experiencing more severe and frequent droughts, such as the drought of 2015 during which only 3.5 inches of total rainfall fell in 6 months between January and July.
  • In 2005, close to 90% of reefs were affected by a mass coral bleaching event that killed ~60% of live coral cover and took a major economic toll on the dive tourism sector. There have been other mass bleaching events since.
  • The Virgin Islands, like the wider Caribbean, received a major influx of Sargassum in 2015 that shut down beaches and brought many tourism activities to a halt. Mass sargassum bloom events linked to climate change have become a regular occurrence since.
  • The Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean region have seen a rise in Dengue cases with record-breaking numbers in recent years.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

The Government of The Virgin Islands set a target of 30% renewable energy penetration by 2023 and is currently on track to meet the target by 2025. The ongoing Anegada solar farm project is to be completed in 2024 and would take that island to near net zero.

In 2015, the BVI Electricity Act was amended to facilitate the transition to renewable energy and the 2016 Energy Policy will guide the transition. Government is also working on incentive and financing packages to encourage renewable energy conversions. A number of major conversion projects to solar and wind energy have already taken place in the private sector. 

Adapting To Climate Change Impacts 

The Virgin Islands has a strong climate change governance mechanism to ensure adaptation to climate change, including a multi-sector Cabinet-approved Climate Change Committee. The Virgin Islands Climate Change Adaptation Policy, 2012 guides adaptation. The Policy sets out specific actions to achieve adaptation in 12 impacted sectors. The Policy is currently being updated and is expected to be revised by June 2024. Implementation of the Policy is to be funded through The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund and central Government funds.

Download the Virgin Islands Climate Change Policy

Download the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act

Opportunities for Partnership 

The Virgin Islands will continue to take bold new steps to safeguard its future in the face of climate change, but cannot do it alone. There are many opportunities for partnership in research, monitoring, education, adaptation and mitigation.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Policy sets out a clear road map for adaptation and we are only at the beginning of this journey. There are many possibilities to partner to implement adaptation projects. Additionally, the Territory is constantly seeking partners to work with in novel ways to achieve the initial target of 30% of energy provided by renewable sources.

Entities interested in supporting The Virgin Islands Climate Change programme should contact the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change at or 1-284-468-2147.

Entities interested in making financial contributions to support climate change adaptation and mitigation should contact The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund. More information about the Trust Fund is available below and at the Trust Fund’s website:


The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund

The Virgin Islands is ineligible to access international climate funds such as the Adaptation Fund or Green Climate Fund. Additionally, The Virgin Islands does not receive any direct climate finance from the United Kingdom.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund provides a trusted and secure solution to raising much-needed climate finance from the international community to support priority climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and programmes across The Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund was legally established in March 2015 by passage of The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act. The Trust Fund is an independent entity dedicated to raising, managing and disbursing funds to qualified applicants to build resilience to climate change impacts and to reduce carbon emissions. The Trust Fund can support actions by Government, the private sector and civil society.

The Trust Fund will finance a wide range of adaptation and mitigation measures, including on-the-ground projects, capacity building, education, research/studies, introduction of innovative technologies, changes in legislation, policy/strategy development and establishment of incentive programmes.

The Trust Fund will support actions across a wide variety of sectors as guided by The Virgin Islands Climate Change Policy, including actions to:

  • Safeguard the environment and fisheries
  • Build climate-resilient critical infrastructure, facilities and communities
  • Build the resilience of the tourism industry
  • Secure agriculture
  • Build a resilient insurance and banking sector
  • Build energy security and promote renewable energy/energy efficiency
  • Increase water security
  • Protect human health

More information about The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund is available from the resources below and the Trust Fund website –  

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act
The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Fact Sheet 
The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Presentation


Governance of the Climate Change Trust Fund

As an independent body, The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund is governed at its highest level by a Board of Trustees. The Trust’s Board is comprised of 9 members, including six (6) representatives from the private sector and civil society and three (3) ex-officio members. The first Board of Trustees was appointed in July 2017 through a public application/nomination process. The present membership is listed below.         


Edward Childs (Chairperson)             Any sector responsible for making contributions to the Fund
John Klein (Deputy Chairperson)    Tourism
Jeremiah Frett    Financial Secretary (ex-officio)
Ronald Smith-Berkeley      Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change (ex-officio)
Vacant     Financial Services
Dr. Shannon Gore Non-governmental organisation or community-based organization
Ronnie Lettsome             Individual ordinarily resident in the Territory
Vacant          Academic or research organization ordinarily resident in the Territory


The Trust Fund Board has the following functions and powers:

  • Executive control and management of the affairs of the Trust,
  • Exercising and performing the functions, powers and duties of the Trust on its behalf,
  • Effective and efficient administration of the Trust Fund,
  • Final decisions on all applications for funding,
  • Developing an Operational Manual which provides generally for the procedures which shall guide the operations of the Trust,  
  • Preparing and delivering a Business Plan for the Trust, 
  • Appointing such committees or advisory bodies as it thinks fit on such terms and conditions as it may determine to assist in the performance of its functions,
  • Engaging consultants for the purpose of obtaining expert advice as it considers necessary in the execution of its functions