The Premier provided an update during a November 26, 2021, press conference alongside Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) on the subject.
“My trip was very successful, enabling a renewed conversation with the UK and Government Ministers, leaders of the other Overseas Territories as well as businesses and friends of the Virgin Islands in the UK,” he said.
Premier Fahie said ahead of the start of the JMC, he took part in meetings with Overseas Territories colleagues on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COP26 and the ecological impact of climate change.
There were also discussions on the relationship with the UK, what that means for the OTs and how OTs can work together constructively to address areas such as security and law enforcement and their roles in a Post-Brexit environment.
“I am pleased that we are aligned on many of these topics and were able to go into meetings with UK officials for the JMC with a broadly shared perspective and common goals.”
“Ministers exchanged views on political and constitutional matters of mutual interest and discussed priority areas for the year ahead as it relates to economic and social development as well as governance,” he said.
Hon Fahie further revealed that meetings were had with Foreign Secretary, The Right Honourable Elizabeth M. Truss; the new Minister for Overseas Territories, The Rt. Honourable Amanda A. Milling, and other UK Ministers with whom the OTs leaders discussed priority areas for engagement and cooperation.
According to the Premier, topics included the Environment, Economic Resilience, Security and Law Enforcement and The UK and OT Relationship.
“One of the most significant issues for discussion was post-COP26 climate action. We re-emphasised the importance of moving away from fossil fuels and speeding up the transition to low carbon economies powered by green energy by 2050,” he said.
This echoes our own targets, the premier reminded given the territory has placed to have some 60 per cent renewable energy in the Virgin Islands by 2030 with the hope of meeting the goal as the UK has set of net-zero by 2050.
Hon Fahie said in the meeting he raised the very important issue about funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation, “The loss of access to European Development Funds of an estimated 7 million euros has left a funding gap in the Virgin Islands,” he said.
Premier Fahie continued, “While we acknowledge UK funding via Darwin Plus for nature-based climate solutions, as well as direct funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for renewable energy development, this is separate to the replacement funds we are seeking to make up for the shortfall left by Brexit to support sustainable development.”