Office of Tourism, Sandy Ground- President of the office of Tourism, Mrs. Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool spoke at the “2015 Empowering Women and Sustainable Development Summit” on Tuesday at the United Nations Headquarters.
The Summit which was one of several events preceding the launch of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at the end of the week was hosted by the Sustainable Development Goals Fund, China Women’s Development Foundation and the Sino American Friendship Association.
During her remarks the Tourism Office President told delegates that “…policies that provide our people with the means to better their circumstances and create a sense of worth… empower women by giving them economic stability and the means to provide for their children and themselves. It is only through empowering women that we can transmit positive values that are then passed on to new generations. This is how we can achieve true sustainability.”
Jeanne Rogers-Vanterpool remarks were among those of several speakers such as the President of the ECOSOC, the Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP, the Permanent Representative of China to the UN, the Director of the Sustainable Development Fund among others.
During the event organizers raised funds through a silent auction for NGOs that provide aid and services for women and their families. One of the main objectives of the China Women’s Development Foundation is to provide women in developing countries with the opportunity to create cottage based industries that can become a source of sustainable employment. CWDC since its foundation in 1988 has provided this type of help to some 6 million women. In addition the group helped establish wells and other methods to provide clean water to over 2.5 million families through “Mother Water Cellars”. In addition, over the last 27 years some 35 million women have been helped out of poverty through various initiatives of the organization, according to the organizations Secretary General, the Honorable Guoying Qin.
Several heads of UN Organizations, including the UNDC attended the summit as well as representatives from several major corporations including PepsiCo, whose representative discussed the company’s programs to empower women and girls, in developing countries, through education, healthcare and business initiatives.
The Empowering Women and Sustainable Development Summit took place on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and on the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Women that was held in Beijing. The event was also a precursor for the signing by the heads of 198 states of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the Sustainable Development Summit that takes pace September 25 -27, 2015. Among the 17 articles of the SDG is article Goal 5 which promotes gender equality. Many of the speakers at Tuesday’s event praised the UN initiative especially the articles on the empowerment of women and girls.
Mrs. Rogers-Vanterpool in her closing remarks also spoke to the wider situation of women around the globe, In terms of the imperative to support women and families in the greater international community, all of us understand the challenges. All of us understand that part of this conversation must include a, discussion of current events. It must be clear by now that the migration of millions fleeing from turmoil over which they have no control, will, in one form or another, end up on our doorstep. We must therefore recognize that there can be no real and lasting sustainable development unless real solutions are found for the various global crisis. If sustainable development is to be successful it must be practiced globally and include both rich and poor nations.”
In addition the President also made note of the responsibility of women in positions of authority to effect needed changes to guarantee that sustainable development takes its place as a priority. “For those of us who are decision makers--- it is imperative--- that we determine the priorities of governance -- and harness the resources and personnel necessary to meet the challenges that are before us. Sustainable development must be placed as a priority – and -- it is time that we place more than a token effort towards measures for its implementation. What is left for each of us-- is -- to determine how in our businesses, administrations, and individual situations we can best help move this agenda forward.”
The president of the Tourism Office is expected back by Thursday, just in time, to host the Conference on “Investing in Saint-Martin’s Tourism Sector.” Some 60 potential investors from the US, China and the Caribbean will be attending the 2 day event which ends on Friday.