NATCOM – St. Kitts, APRIL 23, 2014: The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has utilized its strategic position on UNESCO’s Executive Body to advocate for the strengthening of activities surrounding UNESCO’s Slave Route Project in the Eastern Caribbean.
Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Antonio Maynard stated on his recent return from the 194th UNESCO Executive Board Meeting (April 02-15, 2014) that the Federation’s placement on the Executive Board is significant as it coincides with the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project.
He said given the National Commission’s forthright position on the advancement of the project in the Caribbean, both he and His Excellency Ambassador Dr. David Doyle, (the Federation’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO), emphasized the need to raise awareness of the impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the people of the Caribbean by way of maximizing the educational benefits of UNESCO’s ongoing support of the project.
“We wish to seize this opportunity, to further engage UNESCO, in its quest to constructively contribute to a better understanding of the causes, and consequences, of slavery, and to assertively address the history of the slave trade and slavery from the perspective of human rights, the culture of peace, and, ultimately, reconciliation,” Mr. Maynard stated in his address to the Executive.
The Federation’s representation at the Executive meeting also sought generally to use the opportunity afforded, to emphasize challenges unique to Small Island Developing States (SIDs) as they relate to UNESCO’s approaching assessment of its member states’ progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
They encouraged that the adverse effects of climate change be a central focus of UNESCO’s activities in all SIDs, for example, by combining high level early warning systems with social dimensions, involving localized knowledge of environmental change.
St. Kitts and Nevis, being the English Speaking Caribbean’s pioneer in establishing a Man and the Biosphere site, was announced as a platform for sustainable living and climate change mitigation.
“It is our clear intention to raise awareness of our country’s diverse eco-systems, through this Man and the Biosphere Programme, including its vulnerability to natural hazards, and also to highlight the potential opportunities that would further empower our young people.” The delegation advised that without UNESCO’s technical assistance the Caribbean would be hard-pressed to deliver the needs of stakeholders.
Stressing the Government of St Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to UNESCO’s mandate and core programme of work as a vehicle of National Development, the representatives applauded the recent reforming and repositioning of the Organization evidenced by “the effective implementation and delivery of meaningful programmes executed on the ground in member states.”
His Excellency Dr David Doyle expressed gratitude for the timely and productive intervention by UNESCO, in supporting and guiding the preparation of its National Policy on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET); a central platform of the Government’s strategy to build capacity of its education management and delivery systems, leading to the achievement of sustainable development goals.
Among items of relevance to St. Kitts-Nevis on the agenda were a UNESCO position paper on Education Beyond 2015; preparations for a post-2015 Development Agenda, aimed at identifying developments and entry points in Education, the Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information as well as the role of foresight and evaluation in UNESCO’s new programmatic and strategic context in its interaction with member states.
During the course of the Executive Board Session, Messrs .Maynard and Doyle took the opportunity to meet with key officials at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France which resulted in tangible benefits for St. Kitts and Nevis as it relates to the delivery, and funding of projects on the ground.
The Federation was elected to the UNESCO Executive Board at the 37th UNESCO General Conference in November 2013 and commenced its four-year term on the Board on April 7 in Paris. St. Kitts-Nevis will be serving for the second time on the Board. The first tenure was 2006-2010.