Powell calls on UNESCO for more assistance for Small States

By MyVue News.com Staff Reporter

Basseterre, Thursday, 11th November, 2021, (MyVue News.com) –Minister of Education for St. Kitts & Nevis, Jonel Powell, on Wednesday, called on countries attending the 41st session of UNESCO General Conference, in Paris, to re-deploy climate change expertise and resources to help Small Island Developing States, (SIDS).

Powell argued that there is a need to develop and implement a series of more focused and tailored measures that adequately reflect the unique condition of SIDS.

He said that small states like St. Kitts & Nevis must have a heightened voice at the table in contributing to solutions impacting them, given their location on the frontiers of damaging climate change activities.

Minister of Education, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jonel Powell, speaking at UNESCO conference in Paris

One of the most critical and damaging factors of climate change, said Powell, is freshwater shortages. This, he said, is another field where UNESCO could bring immediate assistance to the Federation, and its Caribbean neighboring island states.
He opined that “The key vulnerability factors remain, sadly, rising sea levels, climate variability and change”.

He described a situation where “a pressing need had now emerged for the UNESCO intergovernmental Hydrological Programme to assist the Caribbean Island states in reinforcing human and institutional capacities with scientific knowledge, methodologies, and resilient water ITC-based management tools.”

The Minister was amongst Heads of Government and Ministers of Education from over 180 states.

As Minister of Education, Youth Sport & Culture, Powell made a robust call to the international community to accompany small island states in their quest to be heard on key challenges, that have been greatly accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Powell said these new challenges require expedient UNESCO intervention, “notably in delivering unfettered access to education and ensuring access to clean water for washing hands, as the only most effective means of combating the pandemic!”

He also admitted that important lessons have also been learned during the COVID pandemic-provoked disruption to the education system.

Powell casting a vote at the UNESCO Conference

“Despite laudable benefits to digitizing the learning process, stated Minister Powell, “it cannot be a substitute for the pedagogical knowledge and skills imparted by the teacher in the face-to-face experience.”

“This is the basis for quality education, regardless of how it is delivered,” he argued.

He also met with the newly re-elected Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, with whom he discussed the benefits of Small Island States.

Featured Photo: L-R Director-General, UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, Minister of Education, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jonel Powell.

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