The NSDP draft will be posted on January 15, and the relevant stakeholders will have one month to make submissions about it.
This will be the public’s final opportunity to ensure there is an overarching plan in place to guide the sustainable development of the Virgin Islands for the next 15 years.
Therefore, the government is requesting the public to be prepared for consultation on the proposed NSDP which was developed with technical support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC).
Premier Andrew Fahie said the NSDP was built on inclusivity and on recommendations from the public and industry stakeholders from the onset. There were, according to Fahie, approximately 70 sets of consultations and submissions that have been received from individuals, schools, community leaders, organisations, the private and public sector, ministries, district representatives, institutions, and Virgin Islanders in the diaspora who provided valuable input and support in the development of the plan.
Fahie explained that the consultation is ongoing and that in January, UN ECLAC Lead Consultant Dr June Soomer and her team will meet with special groups such as farmers, fisherfolk, financial services, teams from ministries, tourism stakeholders, private sector officials, sports personnel, and civil society organisations to ensure that they are well represented within the plan.
“The overarching goal of preparing a development plan is to strengthen the resilience of the society to withstand future hurricanes, pandemics and any other crisis that may come; and to secure the future prosperity of the Virgin Islands through sustainability,” he said.
“One of the promises made to the citizens of this country was that the draft National Sustainable Development Plan would be submitted to them for comments before it was completed and taken to the House of Assembly for approval,” Fahie stated.
Meanwhile, Dr Soomer said the NSDP is grounded in a vision adopted by the people of the country for their future and is sustained by an implementation, monitoring, and evaluation strategy which will measure its progress.
“In this regard, a series of goals have been prioritised and each goal will advance one of the key pillars of sustainable development namely people, prosperity, planet, peace, and partnerships in order to ensure a focus on the achievement of the national vision,” Dr Soomer said.
However, she added that success will be dependent on collective ownership of the plan and collaborative partnerships between residents, government, community leaders, businesses, and civil society.
The Premier officially launched the public consultations on March 12, 2021, in collaboration with the UN ECLAC. The government is seeking to establish the NSDP to ensure that current and successive governments fulfil their commitment to citizens and to engage at the regional and international levels more effectively.
The plan is aligned with the national development priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals, which is an indication of national ownership of the global agenda and will help to meet international monitoring and evaluation standards, as well as to allow the government to be accountable to the people of the Virgin Islands.