BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Deputy premier and minister for natural resources and labour Dr Kedrick Pickering highlighted the British Virgin Islands environmental accomplishments at the recent high-level conference on mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services (MAES) in Brussels.
The deputy premier was representing Dr Orlando Smith, who is the current chair of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA).
The high-level conference provided a platform to present the work already undertaken by the member states, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA). The event is to reinforce the engagement of the member states and to help to ensure the sustained commitment of the associated European Commission services and the EEA.
Speaking during the conference, the deputy premier said, “I can also add that BVI has become the second country in the Caribbean to designate its waters as a protected area for sharks and rays,” he continued saying, “The British Virgin Islands are taking proactive measures to sustain our biodiversity.”
The deputy premier also noted that in order to support biodiversity in the long term, OCTs will need transfer of know-how, financial support, accessibility to EU programmes, sharing of best practices and expertise, regional partnership, economic diversification as well as, new market opportunities in a worldwide changing context.
He added, “We would very much like to build partnerships with many of you in this room as we have a shared interest.”
The MAES conference in Europe was held May 22 through May 25.
In December 2013, the OCTA held its 12th ministerial conference, where the political leaders of all 22 OCTs gathered to support and approve the creation of a board of chairs, in order to help increase the visibility of the association and of OCTs with the European institutions. At this conference the British Virgin Islands was voted in as the new chair of OCTA.