The British Virgin Islands is moving for its local marine sustainability model to be reflected in the United Nations’ (UN) Ocean Declaration, which is to be adopted at the second UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal in June.
The Premier’s Special Envoy for International Affairs, Benito Wheatley, made the appeal on behalf of the BVI while speaking at the Oceans Conference Preparatory Meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York recently.
Wheatley stressed on the importance of the BVI’s participation in the meeting, arguing that it keeps the international community abreast with the territory’s progression in marine affairs.
He said: “As a matter of collective responsibility for the sustainability of the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources, it was important for the BVI and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as every jurisdiction which has some maritime responsibility, to give input on the desired outcome of the upcoming Oceans Conference.”
“The BVI’s voice was heard and the international community is aware that we are continuing the important work of ensuring the marine sustainability of the waters around us,” Wheatley added.
Wheatley further stressed on the function of local authorities in mobilising local stakeholders in conservation efforts. He said these local authorities have raised the awareness — at the community level — about various marine issues and have assisted in finding solutions.
Wheatley also highlighted the Blue Economy Roadmap which was prepared by the BVI’s government and developed with the support of the United Nations Development Programme and OECS Office.
The UN Oceans Conference, which will run from June 2 to 6, will seek to accelerate the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 – ‘Life Below the Sea’.
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