Basseterre, St. Kitts (St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO): Upon the receipt by Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Minister of Education with responsibility for UNESCO matters, of a summary report of UNESCO activities implemented in the Federation over 2022 by the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, he responded by stating, “These mid-term outcomes are ‘compelling’”.
Each National Commission of the 192 UNESCO Member States is responsible for overseeing the UNESCO-led financial and technical assistance in the areas of its mandate of education, science and cultural and included in UNESCO’s 2022 Annual Report of national commission activities.
Secretary-General of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Dorothy Warner, noted that these are exciting times for the national commission. She stated, “The Federation has enjoyed an active and productive 2022, rolling out several tangible UNESCO-led activities”.
These included the following projects, backed by UNESCO funding and the deployment of experts to:
Strengthen the education policy framework of St. Kitts and Nevis, notably in professionalising the teaching force and enhancing the national accreditation scheme.
Set the parameters for integrating education for sustainable development (ESD) in the national education curriculum
launch the 1st phase of a national intangible cultural heritage campaign to identify and preserve local customs and traditions
conduct a data-gathering exercise for technical and policy analysis to influence
decision-making related to water use in St. Kitts and Nevis
map an implementation plan for the Earth Network Initiative in the St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve aimed at developing the cultivation, preservation and monetization of biodiversity-led sustainable agriculture processes in the reserve.
finalise a national sport policy framework and make significant progress towards achieving full compliance with the Anti-doping in Sport standards (now at 76.4%).
The year was also marked by the following St. Kitts & Nevis ministers’ participation in UNESCO-hosted conferences:
Hon. Minister Konris Maynard addressed the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater at UNESCO in December
Hon. Minister Samal Duggins addressed an audience of 152 global cultural ministers at the MONDIACULT conference held in Mexico City in September. He shared his vision for the Federation as it moves towards a new model of culture and creative industries.
Our success story
The summary report also included a UNESCO request that all Member States’ commissions identify ‘one success story’ during 2022. St. Kitts and Nevis listed the “milestone event” in scaling up its Intangible Cultural Heritage activities aimed at developing a national ICH policy framework. On the approval of an application for the project entitled: ‘Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis ICH – Developing a National ICH Policy’, St. Kitts and Nevis secured US$91,252.00, accompanied by technical assistance to implement this project to safeguard the knowledge of tradition bearers, and preserve individual ICH elements. This follows a previously-completed (2021) ICH project: ‘Strengthening Inventory Preparation Capacity for Implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in St. Kitts and Nevis’, backed by US$99,443.00 of UNESCO’s funds.
Commenting on the priorities for 2023, St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to UNESCO, H.E. David Doyle, identified two major projects on which he and the Secretary-General would collaborate as follows:
“In terms of high-profile and value-added UNESCO projects, we are in the process of implementing the UNESCO Earth-Science Network Initiative in the St. Mary’s Biosphere Reserve, with a completion date of September this year. The project seeks to address specific biodiversity challenges associated with agricultural practices, tools and methods used in the Reserve. The overall aim is to embrace better use of tropical forests, enhance the cultivation of new fruits and combat soil erosion.”
“Another priority this year is updating the St. Kitts and Nevis Tentative List of potential cultural heritage sites. With the support of technical advice provided by UNESCO experts, and funded under the UNESCO WH Upstream Process, the Ministry of Culture will cooperate with local cultural heritage stakeholders to identify a focused series of historical cultural heritage sites across St. Kitts and Nevis, in terms of their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for preparing a Tentative List of such sites. Ultimately, one of the chosen sites will be nominated by the Ministry of Culture as a candidate to be potentially listed on the prestigious UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.”
Commenting on the mid-term report, Minister Hanley, Chairman of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, and a former teacher stated, “I am always keen on mid-term reports. St. Kitts and Nevis has excelled in a wide range of areas under the UNESCO mandate. Importantly, with UNESCO expertise, we are adding value in terms of strengthening the Federation’s education policy framework as well as landing tangible projects ranging from biodiversity conservation to preserving the country’s rich historical and cultural heritage”.
Minister Hanley extends his appreciation to everyone who continues to support the efforts of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, especially all focal point persons who coordinate their various activities to account for these success stories of which we can all be justly proud.