St. Kitts and Nevis reiterates need for more synergistic approach to assisting small islands at UNESCO Executive Board in Paris
Caption of photo; L/R, Antonio Maynard, Secretary General Representative to the SKN UNESCO NATCOM & Executive Board, Mr. Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General, UNESCO, and SKN Ambassador Dr. David Doyle.
At the recent 201st session of the UNESCO Executive Board held in Paris, from 18th April to May 6th, 2017, St. Kitts and Nevis found itself leading a call for UNESCO to deploy existing synergies and leverage best practice of its technical interventions in small island developing states (SIDS).
The Federation delegates cited UNESCO interventions in St. Kitts and Nevis as examples of best practice, drawing on the recent youth policy work, the comprehensive education review and the strengthening of the national TVET activity. St. Kitts and Nevis was instrumental in securing an amendment to the Draft Decision tabled by the Executive Board to incorporate the use of synergies and leverage best practice for wider use across all 38 small island developing states (SIDS), in the framework the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan and Implementation Strategy (2016-2021).
The Federation was represented by Mr. Antonio Maynard, Secretary-General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, and Dr David P. Doyle, the Federation’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, based in Paris and Alternate to the Board.
Mr. Maynard, who is the long-standing Secretary-General of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, had multiple opportunities to intervene at the Executive Board session to stress the need for UNESCO – in a particularly budget constrained environment – to consolidate its expertise and re-focus its resource allocation on the development of national Youth frameworks, boosting climate change education and public awareness programmes, Improving groundwater catchment and governance, moving faster on the standardization and harmonization of the IOC tsunami early-warning systems SIDS and in identifying and preserving both tangible and intangible cultural sites for island sustainable developments.
Ambassador Doyle suggested that multiple other examples exist where UNESCO could potentially “re-package, streamline and deploy its core competencies gained from practical experience in the SIDS regions, thereby avoiding ‘reinventing the wheel’ and dissipating resources”. Such focused and best-practice based expertise could be deployed, he said, in improving groundwater governance at local, regional and transboundary levels in the SIDS, and, importantly, drought monitoring systems, in those states suffering from severe water restrictions.
At another UNESCO Executive Board session, Mr Maynard, acknowledging the Federation’s ratification to many prestigious heritage conventions, called for UNESCO to assist “SIDS to identify, ratify and preserve both tangible and intangible cultural heritages sites for island sustainable developments. (Unlike St. Kitts and Nevis) Few SIDS have actually ratified the tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage, Underwater Culture Heritage and Cultural Diversity Conventions – but a few SIDS cases with now operational national policies across these Conventions, could point to best practice in rolling out a conceptual framework adapted specifically for SIDS”.
While in Paris, the St. Kitts and Nevis delegates held discussions with UNESCO experts, notably with the Heritage Programme on next steps for inscribing Charlestown (Nevis) on the World Heritage List, and secure the deployment of a UNESCO-accredited heritage expert to work with Nevis authorities in determining the feasibility of a heritage listing, and a work programme to be implemented by the Charlestown heritage committee.
Charlestown is already inscribed on the UNESCO Tentative List (September 1989). Confirmation received that Charlestown city was accepted by UNESCO for inscription to the Tentative List on the basis that it is considered to be cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.