Sint Maarten and UNOPS conclude Host Country Agreement

With the establishment of a UNOPS office on Sint Maarten, the first project to be developed under
this cooperation framework will be the design of the Sint Maarten Rule of Law Facilities
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 03, 2023 – The Honorable Prime Minister and Minister of General
Affairs of Sint Maarten, Ms. Silveria E. Jacobs, on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, and
Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Mr. Jens
Wandel signed the Host Country Agreement, which is a treaty that establishes the cooperation
framework for the implementation of projects headed by UNOPS on Sint Maarten. Also present at
the signing were Sint Maarten’s Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, and the
Deputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Denmark, H.E. Mr. Arne Brandsma.
As a result of this agreement, UNOPS will establish an office in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten to
coordinate all necessary cooperation with the country and in the region. The establishment of
UNOPS on Sint Maarten marks an important milestone for the organization in terms of providing
support to Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean region in line with the objectives of
social development recognized in the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway.
On December 7, 2022, the Government of Sint Maarten, UNOPS, and the Government of the
Netherlands signed the project proposal, the project agreement, and the letter of agreement for the
Sint Maarten Rule of Law Facilities, also referred to as the new prison project. The Sint Maarten
Rule of Law Facilities will define a new model of prison infrastructure that will benefit both the
prison population and its staff, ensuring full compliance of human rights and the consideration of
social, gender and environmental components in its design.
The first phase of development for the project will be the design of Rule of Law Facilities, funded by
the cooperation framework existing between the Government of the Netherlands and the Government
of Sint Maarten with a budget of approximately US$ 4 million.
Other potential areas that have been identified for cooperation with UNOPS are future project
development that can help prepare the country for the impacts of climate change and the threat it
poses to Sint Maarten’s development. The presence of UNOPS on the island makes it a valuable ally
for promoting and developing sustainable and resilient infrastructure practices.
“The opening of the UNOPS office reflects the Government of Sint Maarten’s commitment to
expanding foreign relations, building capacity, and strengthening international partnerships. I’d like
to thank the technical advisors of the UNOPS Legal Team and the Directorate of Foreign Relations
for negotiating and drafting of the Host Country Agreement. The agreement will facilitate the
presence of UNOPS on Sint Maarten and the realization of the prison project that is currently being
led by the Department of Judicial Affairs and the Cabinet of the Minister of Justice ” said Silveria E.
Jacobs, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.

“I am elated as the Government of Sint Maarten continues to strengthen its relationship with
UNOPS. Since working with UNOPS, they have made two work visits to Sint Maarten; in May
2022, for their first mission, meeting with the Council of Ministers to discuss the new prison project,
and in January 2023 for their second mission, to engage with key stakeholders for the planning and
design phase of the new prison project. Building upon this fruitful relationship, the Ministry of
Justice remains committed to finalizing the process for the completion of the project’s first phase,”
said Anna E. Richardson, Minister of Justice of Sint Maarten.
Partnerships with UNOPS and other international organizations will help support the sustainable
growth, expertise, and capacity of Sint Maarten. Hosting international organizations on the island can
also increase opportunities for Sint Maarteners living abroad to return home. These initiatives can
broaden the horizons for Sint Maarteners and in turn combat the brain drain effect and increase our
institutional capacity.
When executing projects on Sint Maarten it is beneficial to have close engagement with and physical
presence of international organizations to help facilitate execution of projects, leading to higher
quality and speedier implementation of projects. In pursuing an active diversification policy and
foreign relations policy, we look forward to welcoming and hosting the UNOPS team, and in the
future other international organizations, on Sint Maarten.
In closing, Prime Minister Jacobs stated that she looks forward to working with UNOPS on this
critical new prison project and on future projects, with the shared goal of promoting sustainable
development, building resilience, and creating a brighter future for the people of Sint Maarten. With
UNOPS on board, we can be assured of a strong partnership to help us navigate our challenges and
build a better future for our people.