St. Maarten represented at SIDS Conference in Samoa. Country NDP process recognized as a best practice

Sint Maarten was part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delegation that participated in the United Nations (UN) 3rd Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that took place early September in the South Pacific Ocean island nation of Samoa.


At the conference, Sint Maarten was lauded for its National Development Planning (NDP) process as a best practice. The NDP process has been guided by the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), of the Ministry of General Affairs.


The Kingdom delegation also included representatives from Curacao, Aruba and the Netherlands.


The three Dutch Caribbean SIDS, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, made a joint presentation which was organized by the Government of Sint Maarten about their unique programs, challenges, and opportunities for building strategic north south, south-south and triangular partnerships at the UN organized Conference on SIDS. The presentation was opened by Head of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delegation Prime Minister of Aruba Hon. M.G. Eman and the presentation was given by Okama Ekpe Brook, Senior Policy Advisor at Sint Maarten’s BAK (link to the presentation:,php?menu=1566).


The aim was to strengthen development cooperation by identifying ways to work better together with partners for sustainable solutions for the many particular challenges and vulnerabilities faced by SIDS.

To that effect, the presentations achieved the goal by highlighting assets, bottlenecks, opportunities and common areas for collaboration. The questions and conversations from the participants provided answers.

The Prime Minister of Aruba, Hon. M.G. Eman, as head of the delegation expressed gratitude to Sint Maarten for taking the initiative to organize the event. He noted that members of the Kingdom were initially doubtful that Sint Maarten could capably manage its new constitutional role.

This was due to the fact that as the smallest member of the Kingdom, both in size of the population approximately 40,000 at the time, and with limited macro level planning expertise, Sint Maarten did not only have to find the capacity to handle it’s affairs but to establish from scratch many of the administrative structures, policies and systems for all the portfolios it inherited from the former Netherlands Antilles.

Surprisingly, the Aruba Prime Minister said, that everybody has been wonderfully moved not only by the open acceptance by Sint Maarten of the challenge put before it but also by the successful management of the transition process for the past four years.

With the Kingdom of the Netherlands recognition of the problems of SIDS and the fact that collectively, the Kingdom is a relevant player in finding solutions for these inherent characteristics that are particular challenges in relation to sustainable development and extreme vulnerability of SIDS, the choice to optimally represent SIDS interest at this very important conference through a country presentation was well received.