The government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) says its Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labor, Dr. Kedrick Pickering, has been selected to represent the British Overseas Territories (OTs) at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in December this year.
The decision was made at the UKOTA Pre-Joint Ministerial Council on June 13 attended by the political leaders of the Overseas Territories, the BVI said last Thursday.
“I am honored by the Overseas Territories’ vote of confidence in me and the British Virgin Islands Government to represent them at the UNFCCC COP24 later this year,” Pickering said.
“We have gained a wealth of experience over the years at UN meetings in relation to Small Island Developing States, climate change and sustainable development which we will bring to bear to advance the cause of the territories,” he added.
OT political leaders also discussed preparations for the 2018 hurricane season in which Pickering provided an update on the BVI’s recovery and thanked the territories for their support, the statement said.
It said the meeting also addressed the importance of constitutional reform and the need for a new UK-OT relationship following the UK decision to impose public registers of beneficial ownership on the Overseas Territories.
The OT political leaders said their discussions included sessions on the coordination of the OTs’ positions on Brexit ahead of meetings with United Kingdom ministers and the setting of an agenda for the annual UK-OT Joint Ministerial Council in November.
“This was a very useful meeting for the BVI,” Pickering said. “We are aligned with fellow Overseas Territories on the need to shift the relationship between the UK and OTs to ensure the constitutional position of the territories are safeguarded and improved where needed.
“We look forward to working together closely on this agenda in the weeks ahead,” he added.
Ahead of the Pre-JMC, Pickering attended a meeting of Bermuda and Caribbean OT leaders to discuss regional coordination of hurricane response and the future relationship with the UK, according to the statement.
The Deputy Premier is currently leading a delegation in London of the Joint Ministerial Council for Overseas Territories on European Negotiations, among other meetings.