William to attend forum in New York

PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister William Marlin is scheduled to attend an upcoming High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York later this month.

At the forum a Kingdom Voluntary Review Report on SDGs will be presented to the United Nations. A press release from the Ministry of General Affairs’ Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK issued on Sunday, stated St. Maarten continues to embrace the SDG 2030 Development Agenda, and remains committed to achieving these by the time target date. SDGs, also known as global goals, are a universal effort to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that people worldwide enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs 2030 agenda was agreed upon by United Nations countries in September 2015, and came into effect as of January 1, 2016. St Maarten is signatory of this agenda via the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The 17 SDGs are no poverty (1); zero hunger (2); good health and well-being (3); quality education (4); gender equality (5); clean water and sanitation (6); affordable and clean energy (7); decent work and economic growth (8); industry, innovation and infrastructure (9); reduced inequalities between countries (10); sustainable cities and communities (11); responsible consumption and production (12); climate action (13); life below water (14); life on land, peace (15); justice and strong institutions (16) and partnerships for development for the all the goals (17).

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SDGs are interconnected. Often the key to success on one goal will accelerate progress on another goal, the release said. The idea is to reach all targets by 2030, and sustain these for the duration of life.

When it comes to implementation of the goals, St. Maarten has introduced the StMaartenInfo database to compile development data, as well as a user portal for policy development initiatives. Via the Millennium Acceleration Framework, St. Maarten has also combined interventions to target poverty and hunger, social protection policies for elderly and vulnerable groups, with the aim to secure basic protection, access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and upgrading slums. St. Maarten has also conducted a national household budget survey, and worked on addressing established social needs of the society (SDGs 1, 2 and 11).

In healthcare (SDGs 3 and 17), St. Maarten has partnered with Pan American Health Organisation, World Health Organisation and Caribbean Public Health Agency to improve health care policies and services.

In St. Maarten, women and men enjoy equal access to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, it was stated in the release. “The elderly, the physically challenged and underprivileged youth are supported through educational programmes, and policies are in place to decrease dropout rates in education and to digitalize the education system (SDGs 4 and 5).”

“Wastewater management and sewage treatment are challenges in St. Maarten. Investments in sewage treatment provisions have increased in recent years, but are still insufficient. A project plan on wastewater management has been in place since 2014 for water and sewage management, and includes plans for the drainage and sewage collection. By 2035, St. Maarten is aiming to establish fair, efficient and sustainable water supply and sanitation services in cooperation with regional and international partners (SDGs 3, 6, 14 and 17).”

St. Maarten has a National Energy Policy Plan in place, to increase renewable energy resources like solar power and generate energy from waste materials (SDGs 7, 9 12, and 13). “St. Maarten promotes sustainable tourism and is strengthening legislation to enhance employment opportunities, improve relations between employers and employees and supports access to financial services. St. Maarten is expected to stimulate economic growth through innovation, promotion of small- and medium-size enterprise development, and by promoting and enabling environment and (telecom) services to stimulate economic growth and business development (SDGs 8, 9 and 11).”

According to the release, St. Maarten also protects its environment, and preserves natural heritage resources through an Environmental Policy Plan (SDGs 11, 12, 13).

“Next to building partnerships for development, building strong institutions are key to the SDGs approach. In St. Maarten, institutions like Social Economic Council SER, Ombudsman and General Audit Chamber can be mentioned as examples (SDG 16).”

St. Maarten, along with the Dutch Kingdom, committed itself to the SDG 2030 Development Agenda and is in the process of defining priorities for its development agenda. “Furthermore, it is to decide on who to work together with to implement the SDGs 2030 agenda. This requires the partnership of governments with the private sector, NGO’s, academia, civil society and citizens, to mention a few.”

The release said government will release St Maarten’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report 2015 and Beyond soon. “In the meantime, St. Maarten has been in the process of determining its development priorities, in collaboration with key stakeholders.”

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office of Trinidad and Tobago provides support to the Government of St. Maarten via the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in integrating the SDGs into St. Maarten’s upcoming National Development Plan and policies.

SDGs are different from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approach, as well as the partnership dimension (working nationally, regionally and internationally with partners in the implementation of the SDGs), which is key to success, it was stated in a press release on Sunday.

Some 17 goals have been identified, built on the successes of the MDGs. The eight MDGs ranged from splitting extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and providing universal primary education. It formed a blueprint agreed to by the heads of all of 198 UN countries and most world’s leading development institutions.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67516-william-to-attend-forum-in-new-york