Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick Pickering, has stressed the need for greater engagement between the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the British Virgin Islands as an Associate Member.
Minister Pickering in a meeting with Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Her Excellency Alicia Barcena, in Santiago Chile, reiterated the importance of inclusion of Oversees Territories and Associate Members of ECLAC, who can benefit from the organisation’s support in achieving their sustainable development goals.
The Deputy Premier attended the Sixteenth Extraordinary Session of the Committee of the Whole of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean on behalf of the Premier, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE. At this session held on April 16, a consultative process was launched to establish a Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development to support the post-2015 development agenda.
In an intervention made at the meeting, the Deputy Premier reiterated the need for the inclusion of Associate Members in the proposed forum. The Minister said, “It is our view that the proposed regional consultations, when conducted, should take into account the specific views of those territories classified by ECLAC as Associate Members. Our view as a group with respect to how we wish to be included in the Forum and its work is very important to the consultation process to ensure a broad reflection of all relevant parties.”
The BVI’s participation at this meeting follows the Deputy Premier’s call made at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). At that meeting, Minister Pickering said there was a need for greater inclusion of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) that are Associate Members of United Nations (UN) regional commissions in programmes and processes of the UN, particularly where it concerns the environment.
The Minister was accompanied by Acting Deputy Director of the International Affairs Secretariat, Ms. Najan Christopher to the meeting in Chile.
The Committee of the Whole is a subsidiary body of the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean which provides an opportunity for representatives of member countries to meet between official sessions of the Commission.
The Virgin Islands is the Chair of the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Council, formed in 2012. The council includes eleven Overseas Countries and Territories in the Caribbean of which eight are Associate Members of ECLAC.
Engagement with ECLAC represents the Government of the Virgin Islands goal of strengthening international relations with partners aimed at advancing the Territory’s efforts to protect, conserve and manage the environment while pursuing the development of the Territory.