20.06.2019 -

Workshop on the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme was held in Sint Maarten

Wycliffe Smith, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports of Sint Maarten honored the participants at the end of the workshop with a certificate

The UNESCO Memory of the World workshop in Sint Maarten was officially opened on 17 June 2019 at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg.

The two-day-event was organized by the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean. It was attended by Representatives from the Department of Records and Information Management, the Culture Department, the Civil Registry, the Foundation for Heritage and public libraries, historians and archivists from this Small Island Developing State.

At the opening ceremony, Ms. Marcellia Henry, Secretary General of the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO, welcomed the participants to the event and explained that the objectives of the workshop included restoring and strengthening the capacity of the Sint Maarten Memory of the World (MoW) National Committee. She highlighted that the training is preparing the participants for formulating successful proposals of documentary heritage to be inscribed in the MoW national, regional and international registries.  

Ms. Isabel Viera, Programme Specialist for Communication and Information of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, thanked the organizers for their timely initiative and for their efforts to strengthen and maintain their MoW and Information for all national Committees. She called upon the participants to share and discuss their ideas on the current status of the MoW programme in Sint Maarten, the process of nominations and inscriptions in the MoW registers and the UNESCO recommendation concerning the preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage including in digital form. Ms. Viera underlined the importance of integrating information and documentary heritage preservation and access issues more clearly into relevant national policy frameworks.

Ms. Yolia Tortolero, Vice-President of the Memory of the World Regional Committee in Latin America and the Caribbean, assured that the workshop contributes to implementing the objectives of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme in the Caribbean region. She encouraged the participants to take action to preserve, protect and make accessible the rich documentary heritage in the country that might be at risk of being damaged or destroyed by natural disasters or by human actions.

As part of the agenda, the fifteen participants in the workshop visited the Cadaster & Land Registry of Sint Maarten. The objective of the Kadaster Sint Maarten is to maintain and develop a stable and effective land registry system that provides security of title to registered properties and interests in land throughout the country. The visitors received first-hand information about this work and observed an impressive collection of well-kept documents and maps dating from the 19th Century.

The participants of the two-day workshop shared their eagerness to re-energize the MoW National Committee in Sint Maarten and to move rapidly on inscribing the first nominations in the newly established National MoW Registry. 

During the closing ceremony the Hon. Wycliffe Smith, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports of Sint Maarten expressed his gratitude to UNESCO, the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO and the participants for their dedication and work to preserve and promote the country’s cultural heritage, namely its documentary heritage all of which are of significant historical and cultural importance to the countries for the Caribbean.

UNESCO launched the MoW Programme in 1992 to guard against collective amnesia through the preservation of valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world. In so doing, the programme also ensures wider access to such heritage. The programme is thus intended to protect documentary heritage, and to help networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation of, and the access to, documentary and archival collections of valuable records.

More information on the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme here.

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