Secretaries General of English, Dutch-speaking Caribbean NATCOMS converge on Kingston
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Secretary general of the St. Kitts Nevis National Commission for UNESCO, Antonio Maynard, was one of several throughout the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean who joined their regional counterparts to participate in a consultative meeting July 10-11.
The two-day event brought together senior officials responsible for UNESCO, with the aim to do the following:
· strengthen collaboration between the cluster office for the Caribbean and the National Commissions for UNESCO;
· attain a comprehensive view on key priorities and focus areas of opportunities based on UNESCO’s Special Initiative for the Caribbean (SPIC);
· identify joint strategies and actions with a view to enhancing the contribution of National Commissions for UNESCO in achieving the objectives of the Special Initiative for the Caribbean (SPIC), as well as to adopt shared views on key issues related to UNESCO´s fields of competence involving the Caribbean region in light of the forthcoming 39th General Conference, Paris, France, 30 October – 14 November, 2017.
The meeting took into account relevant aspects of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), regional CARICOM strategies and ratified international instruments, in particular, the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Among agenda topics were key outcomes and best practices of the national commissions for UNESCO in 2016-2017; key outcomes of the cluster office in 2016-2017; Education 2030 Agenda; Executive Board Debriefing; UNESCO’s approach to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; overview and processes; as well as panel discussion on the Special Initiative for the Caribbean, (SPIC).
High-powered presenters included Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO Guy Boucke, programme specialist for natural sciences, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean; Katherine Grigsby, director of the cluster office; Claude Akpabie, programme specialist for education; Gisselle Burbano, programme specialist for social and human sciences; Yuri Peshkov, programme specialist for culture; Isabel Viera Bermudez, Advisor for Communication and Information; Axel Plathe, director of the Division of Field Support and Coordination; Clare Stark, UN Coordination Specialist, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO; and Antonio Maynard, secretary general and executive board member.
A very critical discussion ensued in the 201st session of the UNESCO executive board meeting April 18-May 5. Issues arising from the meeting that affect the Caribbean member states were discussed in preparation for the 39th session of the General Conference.
In his delivery of a report to the meeting, Maynard touched on such topics as the UNESCO Slave Route Project; the Education Policy Review and Strategic Plan in which UNESCO played a leading role; the National Cultural Policy and Strategic Plan, which UNESCO is currently very deeply involved with.
Maynard also discussed a project to inscribe the city of Charlestown on the UNESCO World Heritage list; ratification of cultural conventions such as the UNESCO 2003 and 2005 Conventions for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; helping to fund and produce the National Youth Policy; as well as the St. Mary’s Man and the Biosphere Reserve.