With the establishment of a UNOPS office on Sint Maarten, the first project to be developed underthis cooperation framework will be the design of the Sint Maarten Rule of Law FacilitiesCOPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 03, 2023 – The Honorable Prime Minister and Minister of GeneralAffairs of Sint Maarten, Ms. Silveria E. Jacobs, on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, andActing Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Mr. JensWandel signed the Host Country Agreement, which is a treaty that establishes the cooperationframework for the implementation of projects headed by UNOPS on Sint Maarten. Also present atthe signing were Sint Maarten’s Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, and theDeputy Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Denmark, H.E. Mr. Arne Brandsma.As a result of this agreement, UNOPS will establish an office in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten tocoordinate all necessary cooperation with the country and in the region. The establishment ofUNOPS on Sint Maarten marks an important milestone for the organization in terms of providingsupport to Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean region in line with the objectives ofsocial development recognized in the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway.On December 7, 2022, the Government of Sint Maarten, UNOPS, and the Government of theNetherlands signed the project proposal, the project agreement, and the letter of agreement for theSint Maarten Rule of Law Facilities, also referred to as the new prison project. The Sint MaartenRule of Law Facilities will define a new model of prison infrastructure that will benefit both theprison population and its staff, ensuring full compliance of human rights and the consideration ofsocial, gender and environmental components in its design.The first phase of development for the project will be the design of Rule of Law Facilities, funded bythe cooperation framework existing between the Government of the Netherlands and the Governmentof Sint Maarten with a budget of approximately US$ 4 million.Other potential areas that have been identified for cooperation with UNOPS are future projectdevelopment that can help prepare the country for the impacts of climate change and the threat itposes to Sint Maarten’s development. The presence of UNOPS on the island makes it a valuable allyfor promoting and developing sustainable and resilient infrastructure practices.“The opening of the UNOPS office reflects the Government of Sint Maarten’s commitment toexpanding foreign relations, building capacity, and strengthening international partnerships. I’d liketo thank the technical advisors of the UNOPS Legal Team and the Directorate of Foreign Relationsfor negotiating and drafting of the Host Country Agreement. The agreement will facilitate thepresence of UNOPS on Sint Maarten and the realization of the prison project that is currently beingled by the Department of Judicial Affairs and the Cabinet of the Minister of Justice ” said Silveria E.Jacobs, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.
“I am elated as the Government of Sint Maarten continues to strengthen its relationship withUNOPS. Since working with UNOPS, they have made two work visits to Sint Maarten; in May2022, for their first mission, meeting with the Council of Ministers to discuss the new prison project,and in January 2023 for their second mission, to engage with key stakeholders for the planning anddesign phase of the new prison project. Building upon this fruitful relationship, the Ministry ofJustice remains committed to finalizing the process for the completion of the project’s first phase,”said Anna E. Richardson, Minister of Justice of Sint Maarten.Partnerships with UNOPS and other international organizations will help support the sustainablegrowth, expertise, and capacity of Sint Maarten. Hosting international organizations on the island canalso increase opportunities for Sint Maarteners living abroad to return home. These initiatives canbroaden the horizons for Sint Maarteners and in turn combat the brain drain effect and increase ourinstitutional capacity.When executing projects on Sint Maarten it is beneficial to have close engagement with and physicalpresence of international organizations to help facilitate execution of projects, leading to higherquality and speedier implementation of projects. In pursuing an active diversification policy andforeign relations policy, we look forward to welcoming and hosting the UNOPS team, and in thefuture other international organizations, on Sint Maarten.In closing, Prime Minister Jacobs stated that she looks forward to working with UNOPS on thiscritical new prison project and on future projects, with the shared goal of promoting sustainabledevelopment, building resilience, and creating a brighter future for the people of Sint Maarten. WithUNOPS on board, we can be assured of a strong partnership to help us navigate our challenges andbuild a better future for our people.
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