Also participating in the meeting were the Minister of Education of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Minister of Education and Culture of St Lucia, the Minister of Education of Jamaica, the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture of the Bahamas, as well as various representatives from national commissions and delegations to UNESCO from the region.
In his opening remarks, the Director-General noted that he placed great importance on UNESCO’s work in the CARICOM region, as demonstrated by the fact that he had visited almost all the countries in the region during his mandate as Director-General of UNESCO, and that he had often been the first Director-General to visit these countries. He also noted that UNESCO was in the process of further strengthening its cluster office for the region, in Kingston, Jamaica, where a new director has been in place for one year.
Mr Matsuura highlighted that UNESCO would continue to place an emphasis on its work with small island developing states (SIDS), including the CARICOM region, and that he had proposed that SIDS be considered a priority in the new medium term strategy, as well as in the programme and budget for the next biennium, in which an Intersectoral Platform is dedicated to these countries.
Mr Matsuura went on to express his satisfaction for the launching in July 2007 of a capacity-building project in the area of educational statistics for English-speaking Caribbean countries using extrabudgetary support. He went on to announce that he had agreed to continue the project ”Youth –Poverty Alleviation through Tourism and Heritage - Youth PATH,” also to be financed through extrabudgetary funding.
The Director-General noted the importance of developing cultural tourism in the region, through cultural and natural World Heritage sites, and through the promotion of intangible heritage. In this regard, he encouraged CARICOM Member States to ratify the various UNESCO Conventions related to cultural heritage. He noted, in particular, that Member States from the region should ratify the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural heritage, in order to undertake a regional approach to this issue.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of St Kitts and Nevis, Mr Sam Condor, thanked the Director-General for his support for the CARICOM region, noting that the concerns of the region had been taken into account in the new medium term strategy and programme and budget. He noted that UNESCO was uniquely qualified to help the CARICOM region build capacity, notably in the field of education. He thanked the Director-General for UNESCO’s support of the slave trade project, of great importance to the region.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 139-2007 - Publication Date: 18-10-2007