Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Thursday, 23 May 2024 - 9:35am

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ms. Tasha Bertie, recently attended a regional workshop on strengthening social protection systems to adapt to climate change in the Caribbean.

The two-day workshop was held in Bridgetown Barbados and provided insights, particularly in light of the Virgin Islands’ vulnerability to hurricanes, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events.

Ms. Bertie said, “This workshop equipped us with the knowledge and tools to develop climate-resilient strategies, share best practices, and collaborate regionally. By participating, we can create innovative policies that ensure sustainable livelihoods and help our communities better withstand and recover from climate shocks. It was about empowering groups living in vulnerable situations to foster long-term stability and resilience in the face of an ever-changing climate.”

The Acting Permanent Secretary said the Ministry of Health is currently in the process of revamping its social protection systems, and that it was also beneficial to hear from other technocrats across the region, who are faced with similar situations on how they have implemented different systems to ensure that the effects of climate change are minimised, especially among the most vulnerable residents.

Ms. Bertie also highlighted the importance of having different leaders who can effect change in one workshop to brainstorm issues surrounding social protection and climate change in the region.

 “Attending these workshops is essential for building a network of informed and proactive stakeholders who can drive climate adaptation initiatives,” the Acting Permanent Secretary shared. She added, “This collective effort enhances our capacity to implement effective social protection measures and ensuring that no one is left behind during climate crises. It is about creating a united front to address the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change and ensuring that our responses are inclusive, equitable, and comprehensive.”

Ms. Bertie was accompanied by Acting Deputy Secretary Mrs. Sheniah Armstrong-Jones to the workshop organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

By early 2025, countries are set to unveil new national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs. The NDCs serve as the foundation for countries to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The Workshop, therefore, aimed to raise awareness and advocate for countries to prioritise social protection in their national efforts in climate risk mitigation, adaptation, and management in the Caribbean.

Caribbean regional permanent secretaries and department heads from the respective ministries of social development, agriculture, and the environment attended the two-day workshop.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to protecting the health and social well-being of the Virgin Islands' people.


Fitsroy Randall

Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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