GREAT BAY—St. Maarten is joining other countries comprising the Dutch Kingdom, attending the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) being held in New York. This United Nations event serves as a central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed upon in 2015. Some forty-four UN member States are represented at this event and will be presenting their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of the 2030 Agenda. The theme of the conferene is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.”
The set of goals being reviewed in depth will be to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalizing a Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
During the forum, countries present their VNRs, wherein their state and means of implementation of the SDGs agenda are documented. They are debating and addressing poverty related issues, as the main theme of this forum. The HLPF is convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and kicked off on the 10th of July. It lasts until Thursday July 20.
St. Maarten is part of the kingdom delegation, headed by the Dutch minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen. St. Maarten’s Prime Minister, William Marlin, meets his counterparts from Aruba, Curaçao and the Netherlands for a three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Monday, 17th of July, to Wednesday, 19th of July. Venue for the meeting is the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
It was earlier decided that the Kingdom of the Netherlands will jointly draft a VNR report, wherein the state of implementation of the SDGs for the four countries are highlighted. This VNR kingdom report is presented to the UN secretary-general.
Each of the four kingdom countries get an opportunity to briefly elaborate on what programs and projects or activities they have in place, or are executing, to combat hunger and poverty while they make sure no one in their societies, is left behind.
St. Maarten is in the process of defining which SDGs are relevant to the country and will be prioritized from now to 2030. According to St. Maarten’s governing program, for the upcoming years, the country will be focusing on human development, good governance, protecting the environment and preserving our cultural heritage.
Prime Minister Marlin states that “while St. Maarten still has some way to go, the aim of SDGs should always be to produce tangible results that improve people’s lives.”
He says that “as a young autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten finds itself in the process of building on its experiences with the Millennium Development Goals to assess challenges for SDG implementation”.
The St. Maarten Prime Minister notes that “the overarching goal is that of achieving a sustainable economy and a good quality of life, for all.” Next to political leaders, representatives of several entities such as poverty related NGO’s, youth organizations, intergovernmental bodies, UN entities, the private sector and academia/science institutes, (sub) regional organizations have also been attending various side events held as part of the forum.
St. Maarten’s acting Secretary General for the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Joy Arnell, is attending the HLPF as is Loekie Morales, program manager for SDGs at the department for the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), in assistance to Prime Minister Marlin and St. Maarten’s ongoing endeavors. Within the St. Maarten government organization, BAK is the coordinating body for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Residents of St. Maarten are being invited to log on to the UN Web TV Channel for live stream of presentations made by delegates representing countries worldwide attending the High Level Political Forum.
It is expected that the Dutch kingdom delegation will get its turn to address the gathering sometime in the afternoon, on Monday. The proceedings are being streamed via http://webtv.un.org/