(EMU) – St. Kitts, Nov 9, 2015: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon. Shawn Richards attending the 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris, joined Ministers and representatives of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at a meeting with the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, to discuss the UNESCO SIDS programme of work and priorities going forward. Minister Richards had a realistic briefing to UNESCO now well-established SIDS interventions in fields, inter alia, such as adaptation to climate change, education for sustainable development, etc, and the challenges facing SIDS, given that the SIDS committee at UNESCO is ably led by Permanent Representative to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis at UNESCO, Ambassador Dr. David P. Doyle. A release from UNESCO noted, ‘Ambassador Doyle welcomed the longstanding commitment and support of UNESCO and its Director General as he opened the event which brought together 39 SIDS that hold UNESCO membership and representatives of eight SIDS that are Associate Member States.
Dr. Doyle called on the Organization to spearhead activities geared at assisting the SIDS in alleviating the impact of some of the effects of climate change noting that its negative effects on SIDS were becoming increasingly more apparent globally by way of observation. He noted for example the changing coastlines, loss of biodiversity and the remoteness of SIDS communities to which he attributed their inability to proactively prepare the young generations to “build their futures and protect their cultures and indigenous knowledge.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly in September as well as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) were identified by the Director as shaping the SIDS Action Plan in the future. More specifically, she highlighted the fact that the specific concerns and recommendations of the SIDS representatives would comprise the content of the meetings and called on them to have regular consultations as a lead up to these meetings with UNESCO’s programme sectors and field offices.
Minster Richards and other SIDS representatives at the meeting were heartened to hear some of the specific ways in which UNESCO will be assisting as they are given priority in UNESCO’s Medium Term Plan of 2014-2021.
“The SIDS will be able to use E-Learning Tools and ICT Platforms developed by UNESCO which will also help island states preserve their heritage, keep their oceans clean and promote green and blue economies.” Director Bokova told SIDS Member States and Associate Member States, “In addition to securing regular budget funds UNESCO will also stand beside them in their efforts to raise extra-budgetary resources.
Ambassador Doyle has assured the SIDS representatives of his continued commitment and passion to the cause at hand and has added his unswerving assistance to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in pursuit of its cooperation with UNESCO.