Ombudsman attends IOI World Conference in The Hague. | SMN NEWS

PHILIPSBURG:—  The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Gwendolien Mossel, recently attended the International Ombudsman Institute’s 13th World Conference, which was held from 12-17 May, 2024 in The Hague. The host of the conference was the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, Reinier van Zutphen. The main theme of the conference was: ‘Act together for our tomorrow’. Sub-themes were: climate change & living conditions, value dilemmas, outreach and future generations.
Ombudspersons, and accompanying staff, from the IOI’s global network of over 200 independent Ombudsman institutions were in attendance. The conference was successful in enriching the Ombuds institutions knowledge on the topics presented and offered new insights to enhance their impact moving forward. Prior to the conference, Ms. Mossel and her colleague from Curaçao, Ombudsman Keursly Concincion, were re-elected as Regional Directors for the Caribbean and Latin America. The previous Regional President, Nashieli Ramirez Hernandez, of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, was elected IOI President. She is the first IOI President from the Caribbean and Latin American Region since the establishment of the institution in 1978.
During the conference Ms. Mossel facilitated as a moderator in the break-out session regarding national approaches to loss and damage as a result of climate disasters, in which she shared some of her insights gleaned from the aftermath of Hurricanes Luis and Maria. As you may recall the Ombudsman published a report in 2019 entitled: ‘Home Repair. A revelation of a social crisis. This report was made as a result of an outreach campaign following the devastating 2017 hurricanes in which the community faced uncertainty about the recovery process, a major challenge being home/roof repair. Ms. Mossel took the opportunity once again to echo the call of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by imploring the international community to work hard to help small island nations build resilience as the threat of destruction expands and the cost of seasonal storms becomes increasingly devastating for Small Island Developing States. Future disasters could worsen humanitarian crises and impair economic recovery.
Ms. Mossel also presented on the sub-theme future generations (the protection of children in an increasingly online world), specifically, on the subject of cyberbullying, in which she highlighted some of the challenges of this phenomenon on Sint Maarten, and what actions Ombuds institutions can take to hold government and other relevant organizations accountable in this regard.

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