Fruitful scoping mission ECLAC on Sint Maarten

Officials of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) visited St. Maarten last week during June 5 – 7 to undertake a scoping mission, with a view to assisting St. Maarten in its planning to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This mission allowed ECLAC to define the scope of technical assistance that St. Maarten will receive from the Commission in the design and implementation of an institutional framework for mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the country’s effort towards advancing national development. The SDGs have been identified as being integral to the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which should also be used in the eventual shaping of a National Development Plan.
Loekie Morales, program manager at the department BAK, the Interior and Kingdom Relations, was the focal point for the ECLAC mission and guided the ECLAC team led by Ms. Diane Quarless, Director ECLAC Caribbean, in a series of meetings with representatives of the Government of Sint Maarten, NGO’s, the private sector and academia. At the meetings, several Secretaries General of the Ministries and relevant department heads provided updates on their Ministerial and policy plans and elaborated their needs their respective areas of work. The Secretaries General also indicated the kind of technical support they would welcome from ECLAC. To facilitate this, the ministries and departments shared relevant documents with ECLAC.

The ECLAC delegation made presentations on the mission and purpose of ECLAC’s visit to Sint Maarten to The Council of Ministers and to The Parliament, via the Central Committee meeting of 7th June. ECLAC described how it proposes to help Sint Maarten in establishing an institutional framework and build statistical capacity to support implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals. Bilateral meetings were also held with the representatives of the University of Sint Maarten, the Ombudsman, the Central Bank, the SDGs Think & Do Tank, the Recovery Committee, the SHTA, WIFOL and the Social Economic Council, among others.
As part of the scoping mission, ECLAC held consultations with a range of stakeholders, including NGOs, private sector representatives, academia, civil society and the media, to get a broader perspective of sustainable development issues of interest in Sint Maarten. Present at this meeting were representatives from the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, SLV Sint Maarten Seaboard Marine, University of St. Maarten (USM), SAMIF Sint Maarten National Football team, SMHDF Sint Maarten Housing and Development Foundation, OBNA Development Bank, UNICEF representatives, SECDA Early Childhood Development Association, SZV Organization for Social and Health Insurances, Sint Maarten Youth Council, Ombudsman, GEBE Water and Electricity Company, Port St. Maarten, Dutch Quarter Community Centre, No Kidding with our Kids Foundation and of the SHTA Sint Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association.
These stakeholders actively participated in the meeting’s discussions, which provided an excellent opportunity for them to ventilate their concerns on the sustainable development of Sint Maarten, and to offer recommendations to ECLAC and the Government in guiding the development process, with particular reference to the drafting of a National Development Plan that incorporates the SDGs.
The way forward
In its support to Sint Maarten, ECLAC will link Sint Maarten stakeholders with relevant international and regional organizations and assist in determining the data and information gaps related to the SDGs. ECLAC will also assist the Sint Maarten government in addressing the institutional and capacity needs of St. Maarten’s National Statistical System for evidence-based policy planning. In addition, ECLAC will provide technical assistance geared towards aligning SDGs with national development priorities in future Sint Maarten’s National Development Plan and in linking opportunities for SDG development as part of the recovery projects.
St. Maarten’s Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) is the designated focal point for the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Drs. L. Morales, program manager at BAK can be contacted to be part of the SDGs process. You can reach her via government email lo***********@si************.org or by telephone at number 5271223.