Paris, (UNESCO): The Federation is poised to receive approximately US $80,000 from UNESCO to implement projects requiring technical assistance in educational, biodiversity and social frameworks over the period 2020- 2021.
This is the first time that St. Kitts and Nevis will benefit from this record allocation under the UNESCO Participation Programme. Under the scheme, which runs over a two-year cycle, UNESCO member states submit, via their National Commissions, applications for funding designed to provide direct assistance for initiatives undertaken in the Organization’s fields of competence (education, culture, natural and human sciences and ICT) in line with priorities determined by each country.
Ms Dorothy Warner, Secretary-General of St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, noted “Of a total of six (6) draft projects for this Participation Programme exercise that were submitted, we are happy to announce the approval of four (4) UNESCO-accredited projects covering major areas of the Federation’s development strategy. This support is accompanied by high-level experts as consultants and coordinators in their respective fields of education, biodiversity and gender policy”.
Among the UNESCO- approved Participation Programme projects are a NationalGender Equality Policy and Action Plan; Developing a Regulatory and Operational Frameworkfor the establishment of theNational Teaching Council; Enhancing the National Accreditation Framework andStrengthening St. Kitts and Nevis Accreditation Board; and, lastly, Clean – up exercise at TheSt. Mary’sBiosphere Reserve.
The Federation’s Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, Dr. David Doyle, commended UNESCO for its support of capacity-building projects in the twin-island federation: “While the funds are modest – up to a maximum of US$26,000 for each – it allows for an extraordinary level of expertise to be deployed to St. Kitts and Nevis, to develop national educational, scientific, cultural and social policy frameworks”.
He further noted that UNESCO is not a funding agency, “but experts accredited by UNESCO have proven to be instrumental in the past year in assisting the Federation to introduce cutting-edge solutions to develop national policy frameworks”. He cited the 2019- 2020 Sport Participation Programme project aimed at developing, a National Sport Policy framework. A UNESCO high-level sport expert who worked with an ad hoc Federal sport committee completed the project in St. Kitts and Nevis in May 2020. The policy document and Action Plan were submitted to Minister Jonel Powell to seek Cabinet approval in September 2020.
The impact of UNESCO’s Participation Programme was commended by the Hon. Jonel Powell, Minister for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture: “UNESCO’s invaluable input can be measured in terms of building our institutional capacity and strengthening the Federation’s education strategy. I look forward to receiving the final reports towards the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) has sponsored a separate UNESCO capacity-building pilot project. This aims to develop a national Intangible Cultural Heritage policy framework. St. Kitts and Nevis ratified the UNESCO Convention covering this cultural activity in 2017. The project is progressing very well led by two ICH Focal contact points, Ms. Marlene Phillips (St. Kitts) and Mr. Patrick Howell (Nevis). They are leading the charge in the preparation of inventories and the elaboration of standard-setting guidelines, to ultimately develop a national ICH policy framework.
St. Kitts and Nevis is awaiting the outcome of another UNESCO capacity-building cultural project submitted in mid-2020. This will enable the full implementation of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Convention in the Federation. “Hopefully, upon the favourable outcome, UNESCO’s funding will be deployed to facilitate the introduction and elaboration of policies and strategies that protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, says Ms Warner.
Ambassador Doyle added that the project should also, “reinforce the Federation’s institutional infrastructures in support of viable cultural industries”.
All UNESCO capacity-building projects in St. Kitts and Nevis are supervised by Ms Dorothy Warner, under the auspices of the Hon. Jonel Powell, Federal Minister with responsibility for UNESCO’s affairs.