On November 14, 2019, Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite delivered Sint Maarten’s National Statement at the 40th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in Paris France.
The Sint Maarten delegation at the General Conference comprised of Marcellia Henry, Secretary General for UNESCO, Sint Maarten and Carol Voges, Director of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary, and Kamilah Gumbs, youth representative for the 11th UNESCO Youth Forum, who will be joining the delegation for the youth forum on November 18-19.
The delegation was part of a wider kingdom delegation including the Ministers of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, Curacao and Aruba.
Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite, on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, who was unable to attend the General Conference, shared the progress of Sint Maarten on behalf of the Government and the people of the country.
A major highlight of the speech related to the Department of Culture and the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO officially launching Sint Maarten’s first Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) inventory under the awareness campaign, I.R.I.CH., which means ‘I Remember Intangible Cultural Heritage’.
Sint Maarten reaffirming its commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was another high point of the speech.
Minister Wuite also emphasized Sint Maarten’s strong support of the UNESCO Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Action Plan and UNESCO’s initiatives aimed at promoting the importance of mitigation and adaptation, as well as building the resilience of SIDS to impact climate change.
The Minister also accentuated that only by working together and granting SIDS an equal platform within global platforms, such as UNESCO, can we ensure the creation of a desirable future for all our children.
During the conference, Minister Marilyn M. Alcala-Wallé of Curacao, on behalf of the Dutch Kingdom signed the 2019 Regional Convention for the Recognition of Studies, Degrees and Diplomas in Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This instrument commits the signatory countries to adopt all necessary measures to recognize the studies, degrees and diplomas of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean according to the terms contained in the new Convention.
The aim is to promote academic mobility in the region, intraregional cooperation and regional integration.
Minister Plenipotentiary, Jorien Wuite and Marcellia Henry, Secretary General for UNESCO support the convention and the implications for Sint Maarten and look forward to our island ratifying the convention in the near future.
The Sint Maarten delegation also secured two high-level meetings with Directors of the Social and Human Sciences Sector at UNESCO where the Anti-Doping Convention and the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme were discussed.
Outcomes of the meeting were the necessity for Sint Maarten to ratify the 2005 International Convention against Doping in Sport, and to be actively involved in the MOST programme.
Further collaboration for the MOST programme will also be explored between the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science in the Netherlands (OCW) and the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten.
Another positive result was Sint Maarten obtaining the opportunity to participate in the upcoming Second UNESCO International Science School “Promoting youth leadership on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean” Regional event to be organized in Havana, Cuba, from 3 to 5 December 2019.