St. Maarten was amongst 18 Caribbean countries represented at the United Nations (UN) 3rd Annual Coordination Meeting, held in Barbados November 27 and 28. The meeting was organized and funded by the UN and co-hosted by the government of Barbados for 18 Caribbean countries signatory of the UN Multi-Country Sustainable Frame work (UN-MSDF). The UN-MSDF is a plan for UN agencies, funds and programs for the period 2017-2021 in support of the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in the Caribbean.
For one and a half day, UN organizations and government representatives discussed regional challenges and identified opportunities to strengthen intergovernmental collaboration and the support of the UN. Sint Maarten was represented by the Secretary General of the Ministry of General Affairs, Mr. Hensley Plantijn and the UN-MSDF focal point for Sint Maarten, Mrs. Andrea Ortega-Oudhoff, from the Department of the interior and Kingdom relations (BAK).
During the meeting, government representatives engaged in panel discussions focused on the four pillars of the UN-MSDF. Sint Maarten was represented in the panel discussion on “A sustainable and resilient Caribbean”. Sint Maarten’s experiences with UN agencies and support given after Irma demonstrated the importance of good coordination. Efficient communication and transparency are hereby linked and crucial to successfully plan and implement UN support given through various programs and projects. In addition, it is important to be able to measure the support received. Data and the need to strengthen our cooperation with the UN on data strategies was not only mentioned by Sint Maarten but by all the countries, as well as the need for increased resources and capacity to support improved data collection and reporting.
In response to our needs, the UN has appointed Resident Representatives to each country to enhance coordination, communications, transparency and accountability. The Resident Representative for Sint Maarten is Ms. Narissa Neeham. Ms. Neeham will be in direct contact with the Ministry of General Affairs through the UN-MSDF focal point at BAK. BAK, the policy Department in the Ministry of General affairs, has the general task to initiate, coordinate and support Government’s overall policy development and project execution. The main objective is to stimulate improved effectivity and efficiency throughout the government of Sint Maarten.