St. Maarten joins Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean

Earlier this month St. Maarten was conferred Associate Membership in the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Lima, Peru. Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius de Weever accepted Associate Membership on behalf of St. Maarten and in his intervention highlighted our constitutional status, St. Maarten’s hub status, and matters related to health and how it affects development.
St. Maarten, by virtue of being a country within the Kingdom and consequently a United Nations (UN) member was eligible for membership. During the session in Peru, all research undertaken by UNECLAC during the last biennium was presented. The organization published its document “Compacts for Equality” during this session outlining what it believes is needed to achieve sustained socio-economic equality within our region. This was complemented with well over 30 panelists, representing government, banks, unions, NGOS, and the private sector, debating on topics such as south-south cooperation, inclusive economic growth, and social development.
One very interesting fact coming out of the research presented by the panel was that Latin America and the Caribbean has one of the lowest levels of global knowledge production (i.e. academic). Another point that came up of interest, particularly for St. Maarten, was the lack of reliable transport links within the region. This point was also continuously broached during the ACS Summit held earlier this month in Merida, Mexico and attended by the Prime Minister. St. Maarten, wishing to establish its hub status, should look to fill this regional transport vacuum. The lack of transport links was also noted as one of the reasons why regional integration is so low in Latin America, an odd fact taking into consideration the highly urbanized nature of the region. The information gathered during this meeting is invaluable as it will help to root all future policies in research, thereby making them more credible and strengthening their applicability.
During a meeting with the Kingdom Ambassador he stressed the importance of looking at Peru as a viable tourism and economic market, noting the country’s exponential growth over the past decade and its large agriculture and fishing sector.
Minister De Weever was accompanied by Ms. Joy Arnell, Acting Secretary-General of the Ministry of Public Health Social Development & Labour, Ms. Khalilah Peters, Acting Head of the Directorate of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Patrice Gumbs Jr, Senior Policy Advisor of the Directorate of Foreign Affairs.
ECLAC, as it is most commonly called, is a UN sub regional organization mandated to encourage economic cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean. To this end, ECLAC initiates research into issues pertinent to our region and publishes studies, including statistics, addressing key concerns in varied sectors including economic development, inclusive socio-economic development, regional integration, health, social welfare, and labour. ECLAC also makes cooperative agreements with nonprofit institutions.