Saturday, October 24, 2015

Happy70th Birthday to UN, UNESCO - Building Peace

Happy 70th birthday to the UN and UNESCO: My Birthday wish that our consensus building techniques be shared with all to Build Peace in the Minds of Men and Women - a Sustainable Development Goal #post2015 #SDG
Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women;

@krisramp @lolleaves @KrisRampersadTT @glocalpot #Glocalknowledgepot #LeavesOfLife #LeavesOfLife

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TT UNESCO Rep asks US Secretary of State to support Caribbean SIDS UNESCO agenda

 (UNESCO: Paris)
The near US$400 million debt owed by the United States of America to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and its potential value in advancing UNESCO’s work in the Caribbean and elsewhere were placed before US Secretary of State Senator John Kerry in a meeting as the Trinidad and Tobago Representative to the UNESCO Executive Board.
“We are working it out,” Senator  Kerry responded, when he met members of the Board us at one-on-one discussions during a luncheon hosted by the US Representative on the Board, Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines, following an address to Board members at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters on Sunday (November 18). Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova described the US debt as “a small problem to fix”, and efforts were being made to “work it out.”
I drew to Senator Kerry's attention that the Caribbean, as the small island neighbours of the United States, could benefit tremendously from resumption of its payments. This amounts to more than one fifth of UNESCO's total budget - some 22 percent and has resulted in cuts in several programme and other initiatives as the debt was accumulating since 2011 and escalated as the US suspended payments and subsequently lost its voting rights in UNESCO. in 2013 over the admittance of Palestine as a member of UNESCO.
I drew to Senator Kerry's attention that the additional mandate of UNESCO for protection of Oceans and special focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, along with its traditional focus on culture, education, science and information and told Senator Kerry that while there has been tremendous focus on the science associated with Oceans with risks of of climate change and sea level rise, the Oceans to the Caribbean also held tremendous underplayed cultural value and part of the migration memory of its ancient, colonial and contemporary history, along with it being a resource for fishing, tourism and transport. I pointed out the region’s vulnerability with its open borders to arms, narcotics and human trafficking required concerted international action and funding and resourcing.
In direct response, Kerry affirmed the US commitment and support to combating arms, narcotics and human trafficking and to UNESCO in shared efforts at building a culture of peace across the world.
The United States is seeking re-election to the UNESCO Executive Board at elections carded to take place at the upcoming UNESCO General Conference in November 2015.
In his earlier address, Kerry commended UNESCO’s work on sustainable development and Oceans and emphasised the importance of education, announcing that the US and UNESCO will engage other partners for the first-ever conference on “Preventing Violent Extremism through Education” at the General Conference.
He also asserted that the US was committed to Freedom of Expression and protection of journalists, commending UNESCO’s work in these areas.
Kris Rampersad will chair the Education Commission at the General Conference, is a journalist and independent development educator/consultant, the UNESCO-trained heritage expert for the English-speaking Caribbean and has served as an independent member of UNESCO’s international intergovernmental committee on intangible cultural heritage.
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Photo caption:
1.       (From L)  US Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry greets Trinidad and Tobago Representative to the UNESCO Executive Board, Dr Kris Rampersad at a luncheon held at UNESCO by the US Representative, Crystal Nix Hines. Photo Courtesy UNESCO/Pilar Chiang-Joo. All Rights Reserved

2.       US Secretary of State, John Kerry and US UNESCO representative Crystal Nix-Hines discuss UNESCO fun Caribbean issues with Trinidad and Tobago Representative to the UNESCO Executive Board, Dr Kris Rampersad who proposed sustainable development priorities of the Caribbean and Small Island Development States during a luncheon meeting hosted by the US for members of the UNESCO Executive Board and permanent delegates to UNESCO at UNESCO headquarters, Paris, on Sunday (November 19).  Photo Courtesy UNESCO/Pilar Chiang-Joo. All Rights Reserved.

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Meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry at UNESCO luncheon for representatives of UNESCO Paris on Sunday

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UNESCO Programme and External Relations Commission adopts decision on UNESCO role in promoting Education as a tool to prevent violent extremism...building a culture of peace

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A winning experience

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

UNESCO Finance Commission unanimously passes draft SIDS resolution on strategy for resourcing development in small islands

UNESCO’s Finance Commission has unanimously supported the call to challenge the development categorisation of countries according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) tabled by Trinidad and Tobago’s representative to the UNESCO Executive Board, Dr Kris Rampersad with colleagues from the Caribbean and other Small Island Developing States and supporters from other countries.

We are advocating revision of the GDP basis for economic categorisation of States into small, medium and large categories promoted by global financial organisations like the World Bank as it does not reflect the tremendous disparities in income, levels of poverty and inequalities within countries. It is part of a draft resolution proposed by Caribbean representatives and global SIDS with support from others for UNESCO to develop a focussed strategy of programme implementation and means of financing and resourcing an action plan for SIDS.

It requests that UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics collate the relevant data for phased presentation to the Executive Board, “taking account of the vulnerabilities linked to limitations of size and resources economies of scale, indebtedness, external economic shocks and natural hazard occurrences and resources.” Support for the resolution ha already come from not only Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans but also ‘developed’ island states as the UK as well as countries like the United States, Sweden, and China who recognised the place of SIDS in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to ‘the future of the planet.’

UNESCO’s Finance Commission (FA) is charged with examining budgetary provisions of the organisation. It is one of two commissions, with the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX), which is chaired by the representative of Mexico with co-chair, the Trinidad and Tobago Representative.

The resolution has implications for not only on SIDS but all of the developing world, Unless these misrepresentations are addressed we are likely to face the same pitfalls in meeting the United Nation’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Persistent poverty and other glossed-over internal challenges have hampered achievement of the Millennium Goals. The GDP classifications have also restricted access to technical and other resources by civil society and others working to redress the imbalances at poverty, gender disparity and other inequalities at ground level.

Dr Kris Rampersad is an independent development educator/consultant who has been promoting culture-centred approaches to development as the UNESCO-trained heritage facilitator for the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago’s Representative to the Executive Board, 2013-2017. Trinidad and Tobago became a member of the UNESCO Executive Board with the highest number of votes among the Group of Latin American and Developing Countries (GRULAC) at UNESCO elections of 2013. New members will be admitted to the 58-member Executive Board following elections carded for the upcoming UNESCO General Conference in November 2015, where all Executive Board resolutions will be finalised and adopted.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trinidad and Tobago cochairs UNESCO programme and external relations commission 4th consecutive term

Amenable and consensus discussions on UNESCO's participation in the preparation of the Post 2015 Agenda and  Management of Social Transformations as Trinidad and Tobago representative to the UNESCO Executive Board Dr Kris Rampersad unanimously elected to CoChair UNESCO Programme and External Relations Commission for fourth consecutive session of the Board at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris France.
#Demokrissy #197ExB #LeavesOfLife #Glocalknowledgepot ##UNSDG #Post2015 #UNESCO #UN #SDG2015 #Glocalknowledgepot  @krisramp @KrisRampersadTT @lolleaves @unesco @un @ glocalpot

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

UNESCO asked to help review economic development categories of island states #197EXB

The time has come to review skewed development classifications so as to redress economic misrepresentations that are negatively affecting our countries’ access to technical assistance and resources towards achieving effective sustainability.

This draws from discussions with members of civil society, development agencies, trade and international and  foreign representatives on the disadvantageous position placed on small island states like Trinidad and Tobago by its economic categorisation as middle income on an equal footing with other larger world economies.

 UNESCO - with its work on the ground with marginalised communities and to identify intangible value that are generally unfactored and accounted for in development statistics - is well-positioned to begin directly redefining and redressing this. 

We are promoting a resolution requesting targeted strategic actions and aligned budget and funding plan for small islands that also request revisiting development classifications, which has received widespread support from among Executive Board delegations UNESCO.

Ill-informed data on an unequal playing field has misdirected policies, decision making, budgets and allocation of resources that entrench ill advised economic and consumption habits, practices of power and influence that have contributed to the spiral of poverty, inequalities and underdevelopment and the unfulfilled dimensions of the Millennium Development Goals. 

We challenge any representation as helpless and needy that deny our rich resource of talents and people who function against tremendous odds to survive high handed, high powered, hand me down directives and policies, institutional constipation, historically entrenched status quos that handicap our ability to carve our societies in our own image and create the World We Want.

We commend UNESCO’s successful efforts in framing the Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly for its pivotal role in shaping the goals on education, oceans, clean water, science, technology and innovation, culture as a driver and enabler of development, information as a right and key to transparent governance; and transformational powers of advancing the status of women and girls.

We are convinced that the new Sustainable Development Goals offer opportunities to re-set the clock; to revise the failing approaches that have seen such tremendous gaps in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  We believe that the roadmap to implementation of the new goals offer us all an opportunity to re-create development and its approaches and perspectives into the image of the World We Want to combat persistent poverty and inequalities..

We congratulate the Director General for her prompt response to a request for the return of the Young Professionals programme through which, she expressed the hope that many skilled and talented youths explore career options in UNESCO.

Dr Kris Rampersad is the Trinidad and Tobago Representative on the UNESCO Executive Board and an independent media, cultural and literary consultant/facilitator. She is the UNESCO-trained cultural development educator/facilitator in safeguarding heritage in the English-speaking Caribbean and has served as an independent member of UNESCO’s international intergovernmental committee that reviewed applications for its lists on Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Full address to UNESCO Executive Board 197th Session coming soon.

See also,-Trinidad-representative-tells-UNESCO-27906.htmlCaption: Trinidad and Tobago Representative, Dr Kris Rampersad, addressing the 197th session of the UNESCO Executive Board currently in session in Paris. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Critical Creative Triggers to social and economic development

Educators at his city school might have breathed a sigh of relief at seeming exoneration from the incident in which a 12 year old in school uniform was gunned down in ‘broad daylight’ on the edge of the capital city a few weeks ago after it seemed that his grandmother had fabricated her claim that he was on the streets that day after being turned away from school for a breach of the school’s dress code.
It seemed to be wishful thinking of the grandmother of the victim who was not-quite-a-child-not-yet-a-young-man that it was the oft-touted over-onerous education system that was the cause of his being on the streets on that ill-fated day as in her mind he loved school, his classes and the learning opportunities it provided, if not as a path out of the trigger-loving company that he might have fallen into.
And while fingers turned to pointing to the home and the community, of the victim, and later the police and law enforcement (or lack thereof), and further extended to the society and its tug-of-war politics, none of these, nor the educators and the education system could be exonerated as a factor in the echoes of gunshots and trigger-happy, gun-toting youths who seem to be dominating the criminal landscape in increasing numbers, and not just from the recent past.
If these systems and institutions cannot attract the young; if the communities and families cannot emanate a different kind of aura; reorient their view of themselves and their value and worth to our society; their historical and cultural sense of themselves; if the education system cannot deliver more substantively on the promise of the value and potential of learning and schooling and deliver these to young minds in forms that are as creative and exciting, and with the kinds of rewards as gun handling may be – economically as well as in terms of social recognition and value    then the future trends seem inevitable.
If the school system was offering and delivering education in forms that could effectively counter the culture of the streets – perhaps the young man would have been in school, working towards fulfilling his grandmother’s vision of his potential. Much in the wrong, but very much in the right too, the grandmother’s initial claim that it was the school’s stickler to the rules that left her child on the streets, peppered as it was with a long-held tinge of the philosophical truth behind our school system – that ‘the purpose of education is to form, not to inform,’ as captured in the Naipaulian anecdote and a host of literary and other representations.
In over half a century of our political Independence, schools still wear their colonial garb; the creativity that spring from the core and centre of our citizens are still relegated to the periphery. We claim, for example, progress that cultural components as the steelband and creativity of the Carnival arts have been pulled from the periphery and are now in the school syllabus, but it is the very fact that they are being taught as subjects, and not positioned and recognised as core drivers of social change that signal our shortsightedness. That is to say, that the approach is still skewed. There are education facilities elsewhere that are using Carnival and our creative arts – literature, music, drama, design- to teach critical thinking from the cradle in kindergartens – the kind of education that will cultivate discerning youths with critical ability to make effective life choices and weigh the options of a trigger happy life or one that triggers his creative potential.
This is replicated at the level of national planning and budgeting which continue to relegates the creative sectors to shallow song and dance comic relief value rather than as the core economic and social driver of change that it is and that has a place not just in a ministry of culture but as a driving force of those taken more seriously – the hard knox ministries of finance, industry and trade, for example.
Demokrissy ( was one of the first forums to point out that more strategic thinking would foresee this kind of critical creative role for a South Campus of the University of the West Indies, for example. (See this blog)  That rather than focus on the traditional career in law, that it could become an institution that rescues the UWI from its traditional failings and effectively harness and unleash the rich, unexplored, undervalued and understudied potential of the south’s ecological, geophysical, cultural, agricultural and industrial heritage in conjunction with its traditional value for the energy economy toward a brave new world of new economic and social opportunity that could stimulate national growth and progress
Despite being one of the world’s best options of becoming a model for development, we are a long way  from weaning development from its traditional leanings, to unleash that potential. For more see: Demokrissy:
Dr Kris Rampersad is a development consultant; the UNESCO-trained expert facilitator for the English-speaking Caribbean in safeguarding heritage and served as an Independent Expert on the international Consultative Body of the InterGovernmental Committee on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Next: How the President’s schoolmasterly admonishments to errant new – and not so new parliamentarians – might be an echo of the grandmother’s wishful thinking: Something’s missing in the UN Sustainable Development Goals 
#budget2016 #Demokrissy #LeavesOfLife #CaribbeanLiterarySalon #LeavesOfLive #glocalknowledgepot @krisramp @lolleaves @glocalpot  @U @UNESCO #SDG #2015UNSDG #MEDg #SDgPoverty #SDGEducation #SDGCulture SDGsustainableCity