SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During the week of March 21, 2023, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of VROMI, Egbert J Doran, attended the Water Conference at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. The Conference, hosted by the kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of Tajikistan, featured an opening and closing ceremony, six plenary meetings and five multi-stakeholder interactive dialogues. It also featured a number of high-level special events and side events organized by Member States, the UN system, and other stakeholders, including Sint Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba.
According to a report from the United Nations Water Committee, water is an essential part of life and is inextricably linked to the three pillars of sustainable development as it integrates social, cultural, economic and political values.
It is crosscutting and supports the achievement of many SDGs through close linkages with climate, energy, cities, the environment, food security, poverty, gender equality and health, amongst others. With climate change profoundly affecting our economies, societies and environment, water is indeed the biggest deal breaker to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets, including those contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“For Sint Maarten, the impacts of the climate crisis are most acutely expressed through water. Through the destructive force of water - during storm events and flooding of increasing intensity, and through uncertainties of future sea-level rise,” said Minister Doran.
“As a small island developing state (SIDS), we simply lack the institutional capacity to advance a holistic and integrated adaptation agenda on our own. Especially with the increasing need to redirect limited funds and resources to recovery and reconstruction following more frequent and intense disasters.
“Therefore, we welcome the development of a similar program to support the adaptation agendas of SIDS, to increase our resilience and adaptive capacity. A program that will also realistically consider the institutional capacity limitations faced by SIDS, and most importantly, a program that will be centered around action."
"Neighboring islands such as Saba and Sint Eustatius are no strangers to water shortages. Recently, the French side of the island looked to us for help with their water shortage issues," Doran continued. "Failure to prepare now for the issues that lie ahead could prove disastrous for generations to come. This is why it is important for us to protect our waterways, ponds, and coastal areas locally. The running of septic water onto roads is one example of how we contribute to local water issues. While government takes the lead, it is ultimately up to every citizen to do their part to conserve, protect and respect the sanctity of water."
The Ministry of VROMI is dedicated to the improvement of water resources and provision for the residents of Sint Maarten and seeking the best way forward for generations to come.