The British Virgin Islands has successfully completed its Vice Chairmanship of the Caribbean Development Cooperation Committee (CDCC) which is a subsidiary body of the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Vice Chairmanship concluded with the handover of the Chairmanship of the CDCC from the Government of Saint and the Grenadines to the Government of Suriname at the 29th session of the regional body.
Special Envoy of the Premier Mr. Benito Wheatley, attended the biennial meeting and made a statement on behalf of the Government of the British Virgin Islands. In his remarks, Mr. Wheatley thanked Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as the outgoing Chair for their leadership and congratulated the Foreign Minister of Suriname Hon. Albert Ramdin and the Government of Suriname on assuming the Chairmanship of CDCC. He also highlighted the work completed by the British Virgin Islands as an outgoing Vice Chair of the CDCC. According to Mr. Wheatley,
“Among the roles we played on the previous CDCC Bureau as Vice Chair, was that of advocate for the Associate Members to ensure that within ECLAC, our challenges received the needed attention, especially as it concerned sustainable development. Through the efforts of all the relevant parties, the Associate Members are now much more integrated into the regional sustainable development framework of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
He also called on the new leadership of ECLAC to continue supporting the Associate Members through the provision of additional budgetary resources to the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean.
“It is my hope that under the leadership of UN ECLAC’s new Executive Secretary, Mr. Jose Manuel Salazar Xirinachs, that ECLAC will continue its robust support for Associate Members. In fact, I hope he goes further than before by increasing the budget allocation to the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in the Caribbean to regularise the technical assistance available to Associate Members. This is the logical expansion of the Caribbean First Strategy. The Port of Spain office’s responsibility for 13 Member States and 13 Associate Members should be reflected in its budgetary resources. It will be difficult to sustain engagement with the Associate Members if it is not clear that ECLAC can assist them in some way.”
Additionally, the Special Envoy also updated the CDCC on the British Virgin Islands’ challenges in progressing with hurricane recovery. In his statement, Mr. Wheatley said,
“Our efforts to accelerate recovery were considerably slowed down by the pandemic. Presently the impact of high inflation and high fuel and energy costs is consuming public resources as limited funds are expended by Government to assist families. We are left to do more borrowing if we want to complete the task of recovery.”
He also thanked UN ECLAC for the technical assistance provided to the British Virgin Islands that assisted the Government in mapping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the annual budget and provided the consultants needed to help develop a National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP).
The British Virgin Islands served as Vice Chair of CDCC from 2020 to 2022, completing three consecutive terms as Vice Chair. During the 2020-2022 biennium, the Government chaired the first High-Level Meeting of the Associate Members of ECLAC on their challenges in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the ECLAC-UWI Development Partners Forum on Investing in Higher Education To Build More Diversified and Resilient Post-COVID Economies. The Government also presented the official report of the CDCC at the 38th Session of ECLAC.
The 7th Caribbean Development Roundtable (CDR) and 29th Meeting of the CDCC took place in Paramaribo, Suriname from 12th-14th October 2022.
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