Story courtesy of UNESCO

(Basseterre, St. Kitts) -The National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recently welcomed several new members as it sets a course to raise its profile and that of UNESCO locally.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon. Sam Condor, who is also the Chairman of the Commission, addressed the body calling for individuals to show commitment as they seek to maximize the benefits that can be derived from properly assessing national priorities in the areas which fall under UNESCO’s remit.

UNESCO’s five areas of cooperation and assistance include Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture as well as Communication and Information.

Each member of the National Commission has the responsibility to advise government on their area of expertise. Minister Condor said while there would be opportunities for inter-sectoral collaboration among members with related projects, there was a definite need to delve deeply into their field of expertise to remain abreast of relevant issues.

The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the rapid evolution of global issues, stating that they necessitate a high degree of alertness with sustained concentration on each programme area to ensure that the Federation can develop strategic and proactive projects that fall in line with UNESCO’s procedures and result in benefits to its citizens.

Commenting on the Federation’s recent signing of the “Doping in Sports Convention,” Secretary General of the National Commission For UNESCO Mr. Antonio Maynard, who chaired the meeting, called on members to begin to consider additional United Nations Conventions that would be meaningful to the Federation.

He cited priority areas as being issues related to gender, made evident by gang violence and the high school drop out rate among males.

The Convention on Under Water World Heritage was mentioned as one that could be a priority for St. Kitts and Nevis, given the large number of shipwrecks just off the coast.

Mr. Maynard said emerging global issues that must be monitored closely due to their possible impact on national development include climate change, global warming, globalization, rising food prices and rising gasoline prices.

He reemphasized the need for members of the National Commission to acquire the knowledge and expertise to be able to advise governmental authorities towards effectively shaping national policy and maintaining the support of UNESCO.

A list of 10 participation proposals have been tabled for St. Kitts and Nevis at the UNESCO General Meeting. So far two have been approved including the establishment of a teacher training lab and a campaign promoting environmental and developmental issues for sustainable living, through education and public relations activities.

Others expected to be approved in the near future include the research and documentation of musical heritage, a study of the socio-economic background of incarcerated men, a youth amelioration mission and a waste recycling programme.

Members of the main programme areas of the National Commission for UNESCO are Joan Phillip, Malcolm Knight and Michael Blake Ð Education; Hilton Clarke – Natural Science; Maria Crawford – Information and Communication, Grace Challenger and Creighton Pencheon – Culture; and Jacqueline Christopher – Social Science.

Other members include Geoffrey Hanley – Youth; Al Barker and Matthew McQuire – Civil Society; Hazel Brookes and Victoria OÕflaherty Ð World Heritage as well as Dr. Bronte Gonsalves who is representing the Nevis Island Administration.