The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund

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 Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund is an independent, dedicated fund to raise monies to help the Territory adapt to the diverse impacts of climate change and reduce harmful greenhouse gas/carbon emissions by increasing energy efficiency and integrating alternative energies. The Trust Fund will support actions by Government, the private sector and civil society.

The Fund will support a wide range of measures to build resilience to climate change impacts and to reduce carbon emissions 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
  • Secure critical infrastructure, facilities and communities
  • Build the resilience of the tourism industry
  • Secure agriculture
  • Build a resilient insurance and banking sector
  • Build energy security
  • Build water security
  • Protect human health

More information about the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund is available from the following resources: 
Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act
Climate Change Trust Fund Fact Sheet 
Presentation on Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund and Board

Governance of the Climate Change Trust Fund: the Board of Trustees

As an independent body, the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund will be governed at its highest level by a Board of Trustees. The Trust’s Board is to be comprised of 9 members, including six (6) representatives from the private sector and civil society and three (3) ex-officio members as listed below:

Members selected through application/nomination

  • private sector representative of the tourism industry
  • private sector representative of the financial services sector
  • private sector representative of any other sector responsible for making contributions to the Fund
  • a representative from an academic or research organisation ordinarily resident in the Territory
  • a representative from a non-governmental organization (NGO) or community-based organization (CBO) ordinarily resident in the Territory
  • an individual ordinarily resident in the Territory, who may possess relevant knowledge, expertise or experience

Ex officio members

  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour
  • Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance
  • Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Fund

The Trust Fund Board will have 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

Applicants/Nominees for the Board of Trustees

Appointment of the Trust Fund’s Board of Trustees will be based on an open and transparent, criteria-based public application and nomination process. The application/nomination period opened on 11th February 2016 and closed on 15th July 2016. In keeping with the requirements of the Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund Act, the public was invited to make comments on the suitability of applicants/nominees received over a 30 day period which ended Friday 16th September, 2016. A total of 25 persons applied or were nominated for membership on the Board of Trustees. Final evaluation of candidates and selection of Board members is ongoing.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Programme

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

This webpage is maintained by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour 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:

  • More extremes in rainfall - Between 2003 and 2010 there were several major flood events, an unprecedented frequency in living memory, with two singular events costing the Territory close to $20 million US dollars in damages each. The Territory has been in severe drought for most of 2015, only receiving 3.5 inches of total rainfall 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
  • 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. Scientists suspect that the large bloom may be associated with climate change.
  • 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 is committed to a target of 20% renewable energy by 2021. In 2015 the BVI Electricity Act was amended to facilitate this target. Government is 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.

Climate Change Brochure page 1

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 the future of these precious islands, but cannot do it alone. There are many opportunities for partnership in research, monitoring, education, adaptation and mitigation.

The Territory is constantly seeking partners to work with in novel ways to achieve an ambitious target of 20% of energy provided by renewable sources by 2021. 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 endless possibilities to partner to implement pilot adaptation projects.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Trust Fund was established by law in March 2015 and is a first of its kind in the Caribbean. The Climate Change Trust Fund will soon be ready to accept contributions to help finance critical adaptation and mitigation actions.

The Virgin Islands invites you to partner with us!