EPIC participates in FEE General Assembly

Sint Maarten’s project manager Rueben J. Thompson represented Sint Maarten at the Foundation for Environmental Education’s (FEE) General Assembly which took place at the United Nations (UN) City building in Copenhagen, Denmark from June 19th through June 21st, 2014.
The Blue Flag Program and Green Key eco-labels are owned and operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an independent international non-profit organization which holds office in Copenhagen. EPIC has been a member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) since 2008 and is the National Coordinator of the Blue Flag Program on St. Maarten. Divi Little Bay Resort and Isle the Sol Yacht Club were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag eco-label in October 2011, making Sint Maarten the first Country in the Dutch Caribbean to have Blue Flag locations. A third location is expected to meet the criteria for Blue Flag certification this coming August.
In 2012 EPIC and the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) launched the Green Key program, an international voluntary eco-label for tourism facilities which promotes sustainable tourism by encouraging best environmental management initiatives. Green Key is operated as a certification program, Sint Maarten currently has one Green Key-Pilot location.

Some ninety-three delegates representing sixty-seven organizations and sixty countries attended the 2014 FEE General Assembly. The three-day event included governance decisions, discussions on the organizations’ future direction, workshops and social events.

The General Assembly was addressed by Danish Minister of the Environment, Ms. Kirsten Brosbøl, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency, Prof. Hans Bruyninckx and by Ms. Eva Egesborg Hansen, Public Diplomacy and Communications Advisor to the UN City.

All three gave inspirational presentations which emphasized the important roll the Foundation for Environmental Education and its programs are playing and ought to continue to play in the future with regard to Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development.

The Assembly discussed and approved FEE’s Environmental Education principles, financial issues, and specific strategies the organization aims to implement in the coming years. During the Assembly Thompson participated in a Blue Flag and Green Key meeting for the Greater Caribbean and Latin America which featured representatives from Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Green Key international Coordinator.

At the very closing of the assembly a new Board of Directors was elected for a two year period on the Board which will continue to be chaired by FEE’s President, Jan Eriksen. The Sint Maarten Tourist Bureau, St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association, the St. Maarten Timeshare Association and the Marine Trades Association are enthusiastic partners and supporters of the Blue Flag program on St. Maarten.

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean

FEE General Assembly 2014Rueben J.Thompson EPIC-Sint Maarten Josie Hendriksen FEE Netherlands Erik van Dijk FEE Netherlands