(EMU) – St. Kitts, November 11, 2015: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon Shawn Richards has complimented UNESCO on the attainment of 70 Years. Additionally, Minister Richards, while addressing the 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference thanked the organization for its assistance and commitment to the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis especially with regard to Education, Human Science, Information Society and Culture. Minister Richards who led a delegation including Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Antonio Maynard to the Conference was expressive in his appeal for continued cooperation in light of the emerging crises arising from economic, environmental and sovereign state challenges which continue to have an adverse impact on the quality of life of citizens.
“By any measure, UNESCO has successfully weathered the impact of these storms over the years in delivering its mandate to its member states, especially as it relates to Education for All and at All Levels,” Stated Minister Richards.
Speaking from the perspective of a Minister of Education in a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Minister Richards added that in addition to the challenges being experienced globally, this group of unique territories were further confronted by external and economic and climatic challenges in their open-market island economies. He therefore advocated for continued structured intervention and expertise from UNESCO.
Commenting on the intention of his government to ratify two cultural conventions in the near future Minister Richards emphasized that the way forward must utilize youth in a strategic fashion. “We must be able to unleash and discover the full potential and immense talent that lies within our young people in more innovative and creative ways. Our cultural heritage and its role in boosting tourism, considering our rich and vibrant historical and cultural heritage and legacy must be deployed in a more professional manner as a means of adding value to the tourism sector.”
The minister also thanked UNESCO for its work on the draft action plan for SIDS which he said would assist in achieving the global agenda, mitigating against the challenges such as climate change and the ensuring sustainable use of fresh water resources.
The National Commission for UNESCO in the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis has been and will continue to stand ready to assist all efforts as endorsed by UNESCO.
Ambassador Dr. David Doyle, Permanent Delegate of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO was also part of the delegation and led a group of SIDS representatives at an earlier meeting with UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova.