The British Virgin Islands and other Associate Members of the United Nations (UN) regional commissions (i.e. ECLAC and ESCAP) have completed successful participation at the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda that ended on 30th May where they achieved greater acknowledgement and recognition of their financing needs by the international community in light of their vulnerabilities as Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

In the official statement at the closing segment of the SIDS4 conference on the report of the Interactive Dialogues, the Associate Members’ need for international support under the new SIDS Programme of Action was highlighted in reference to the intervention made by Premier of the British Virgin Islands Dr. Hon. Natalio D. Wheatley on behalf of the Associate Members at the SIDS Interactive Dialogue on Finance on 28th May. Premier Wheatley’s intervention called for the Associate Members to have access to climate finance, and development finance more broadly, to help them build climate resilience and advance their sustainable development.

His intervention came after a High-Level Caucus Meeting of the Associate Members in the margins of the SIDS4 conference on 27th March organised by the Government of the British Virgin Islands and UN ECLAC. Official statements were made by the political leaders of the Associate Members present who included Premier Dr. Hon. Natalio D. Wheatley, Prime Minister of Aruba Hon. Eveyln Wever-Croes, Sint Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Patrice Gumbs, Bermuda Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors Hon. Tinée Furbert, and Guam Lieutenant Governor Hon. Josh Tenorio. Statements were also made by the representatives of the Cook Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinque, Montserrat, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, and ECLAC.

Notably, BVI Special Envoy Mr. Benito Wheatley called for closer coordination and cooperation between the Associate Members, their stronger engagement with the UN system, common messaging on the Associate Members’ need for access to climate finance/development finance, and the establishment of a UN supported forum on sustainable development for the Associate Members to help address their challenges and support their progress on sustainable development.

The Associate Members agreed to work closely together on their implementation of the new SIDS Programme of Action and to pursue the establishment of an Associate Members Forum on Sustainable Development with the support of the UN system.

Chief of the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean Mrs. Diane Quarless moderated the discussion.