Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley has received the published 2020 ecosystem accounts that continues to provide evidence and support environmental and economic management for the Territory.
The 2020 Ecosystem Accounts were officially handed over this morning by Mr. Jake Kuyer and Ms. Sophie Neupauer of the Economics For The Environment Consultancy Limited (EFTEC) at an official handover ceremony and press conference.
Honourable Wheatley expressed thanks to the team and his ministry for the work that they have been doing in the BVI over the past two years. He also recognised Marine Biologist Mr. Mervin Hastings who was the key person in the ministry.
Minister Wheatley said, “We all know the environment is incredibly important and valuable to the Territory of the BVI, and it is very important that we have a measure of exactly what that value is, we will see from the report that it is worth in some areas up to ninety-three million dollars.”
Honourable Wheatley added, “It is important we have this kind of work done so that if we are going to make decisions for management of the environment and of the economy, that we have hard data to back up our decision making. This report gives us those indicators and things we can look for, and to measure exactly how the environment is improving or degrading.”
EFTEC’s representative, Mr. Jake Kuyer said the 2020 accounts build upon the information that was collected and collated in the 2019 accounts.
Mr. Kuyer said, “We have been investigating and assessing the environment in the Virgin Islands and producing the system of ecosystem accounting which tries to take environmental evidence, understanding the value and producing environmental economic data that can be then feed into government decision making processes.”
Meanwhile, team member Ms. Sophie Neupauer spoke about her experience working with the local practitioners over the years to put the ecosystem accounts together.
Ms. Neupauer said, “It has been a pleasure to work with all the local practitioners on the island. We have been working with them, members of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Ministry of Natural Resources practitioners as well really, closely for the past one and a half years. We are excited about the enthusiasm that we have seen on the island to continue the process.”
The full handover ceremony and press conference can be viewed on the Government’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BVIGovernment
For more details on the Virgin Islands 2020 Ecosystem Account please find the full report on the Government’s webpage at www.bvi.gov.vg
NOTES TO EDITORS
Photo 1 (Left to Right): Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley, Mr. Kuyer of EFTEC, Ms. Sophie Neupauer of EFTEC
Photo 2: Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley, Mr. Kuyer of EFTEC, Ms. Sophie Neupauer of EFTEC
(Photo credit: GIS/Franklin Skerritt)