NextGen voice, action and change: Build Back Better SXM and the “SoCoCo” wall

Young people are crucial in shaping the 2030 agenda, in tackling 21st century challenges, steering action and transforming change in their communities. The Nextgen voice and input must be taken into consideration as St.Maarten works toward a more resilient future. For this reason a special NextGen session was organized on Saturday, March 17, 2018 during the Build Back Better Week Sint Maarten (SXM) that was held at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina. The Minister of Education, Youth Culture & Sports, Jorien Wuite attended, actively participated in the interactive session and pledged full support as well as gave a call to action to the NextGen of SXM in the setting up of a local Philipsburg Global Shapers Hub. The Global Shapers Community is an international platform empowering youth in driving dialogue, action and change.

The NextGen session was a special youth side-event of the “Do-Tank”, a hackathon-like event where 21 teams competed for the winning idea for rebuilding a more resilient future for Sint Maarten. The active participation of young leaders is needed to build a transformative, integrated and interrelated agenda to make Sint Maarten more sustainable, renewable and resilient.

The Centre of Excellence (COE) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States (SIDS), a United Nations Development Programme initiative based in Aruba, co-organization the Build Back Better Week SXM along with Ernst Young (EY) Caribbean, and the Dutch Caribbean Chambers of Commerce. The NextGen side-event was a collaboration between the youth platform of Aruba Oranjestad Global Shapers Hub of the World Economic Forum, the Youth2Youth Community of the World Bank Group, the Global Youth Climate Network and Global Storytelling for Global Development platform organized especially to ignite and spark a conversation with the young people of Sint Maarten.

The Nextgen session brought key ideas and topics of crucial importance to the young people of St Maarten – from plastic pollution to social cohesion – which ultimately culminated into a cohesive sharing of young people’s visions for building back better St Maarten. Additionally, young people from other Caribbean countries such as Dominican Republic and Suriname, through the youth Global Shapers platform, shared their ideas, challenges and solutions as well as local community led projects with virtual video recordings. The session showed an interdisciplinary and inter-generational dialogue, participants varied from public to private sector.

To further build on the energy and ideas expressed during this session, a Social Commitment Contract Wall, otherwise called the “SoCoCo” Wall, will be setup in diverse accessible public spaces where all of Sint Maarten NextGen are given the opportunity and encouraged to express their vision and personal commitments to Sint Maarten. The first pop-up location brought together a group of young people at the Creative Industries Interactive exchange Forum (CIIEF), on Wednesday, March 21, were people had a chance to write down their commitments and future visions. The NextGen dialogue and SoCoCo wall is just the beginning to give young people a stronger voice and put the power of youth in action.

Follow the facebook page of the BBB event ( ) for further developments and pop-up locations of the SoCoCo wall. The organizers expressed that this wall has the potential to represent the collective story on the vision of the NextGen of St Maartin on Building Back Better and can serve as input to the Government of St Maarten. Are you a NextGen of SXM? Follow the SoCoCo Wall, write your commitment, take a selfie and share this on social media with hashtags #NextGenSXM #BuildBackBetterSXM