The BVI has much work to do if it is going to be able to create revenue generating projects in a blue carbon economy.
This is according to Natural Resources Minister, Vincent Wheatley, who detailed some of the interactions he had with investors and other officials at the recent Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom (UK).
According to the minister, the BVI‘s mangroves and seagrass are two commodities which the territory has in abundance that are already garnering interest from potential investors.
“They are very much interested in helping us turn those natural assets into a new economy that can generate income for the BVI,” Wheatley said.
He added: “I’ve met with several funders too, but what the funders are looking for is what you call bankable projects. So, here is where the technocrats and as a government we have a lot of work to do to create these projects that simply need funding.
Mangroves have become the new gold
Wheatley said one of the topics he was able to make a presentation on, was mangroves.
“When it comes to mitigation against climate change, they’ve discovered that mangroves are very efficient at removing carbon from the atmosphere. So mangrove has become kind of the new gold right now,” the minister said.
When he presented on the scale of the mangrove nursery in the BVI, Minister Wheatley said he was advised that in order to benefit from the blue carbon economy and be able to generate revenue from the mangroves, the mangrove population needed to be scaled up.
Wheatley said he spoke to a funder who indicated a willingness to finance the expansion of the mangrove nursery so that the BVI would be able to participate in the lucrative blue carbon economy.
Furthermore, several meetings were held with officials in the UK, including Lord Goldsmith, the UK’s minister for the environment, who asked the BVI to indicate what its funding gap was like in order to receive assistance.
Minister Wheatley expressed that he didn’t expect the UK to entirely fund the BVI‘s initiative, therefore the territory needed to go on its own to find private funders to match what the UK is trying to do.
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