Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has reiterated the Government’s commitment to building a robust diaspora engagement strategy.
The strategy, she said, is geared towards deepening and strengthening the relationship with members of the Jamaican diaspora, wherever they reside.
Senator Johnson Smith, who was speaking at Wednesday’s (June 16) opening of the two-day virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium, said that diaspora engagement remains a critical focus of Jamaica’s foreign policy and a key pillar in supporting national development.
“We consider it our duty to walk hand in hand with all those across the globe who will work for Jamaica’s success by ensuring that we achieve our development targets for the benefit of our people,” she pointed out.
Included in the diaspora engagement strategy are measures such as the National Diaspora Policy, which, she said, is expected to be adopted within the coming months.
The policy reflects the commitment of the Government to pursue diaspora-related measures and initiatives that are beneficial to national development and the well-being of its diaspora population.
It is in keeping with Vision 2030, Jamaica’s National Development Plan and is a comprehensive framework and guide to harness the power of overseas nationals to ensure that Jamaicans at home and abroad are empowered, among other things.
Senator Johnson Smith informed that other important components of the diaspora engagement strategy are the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council (GJDC) and the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council (GJDYC).
“The decisions to establish them were deliverables of the eighth biennial diaspora conference held in Kingston in June 2019,” she noted.
The GJDC was formally established in February 2020 and consists of 28 members drawn from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
She said that the Council, which is now operational, meets on a regular basis with the Ministry’s Secretariat.
The GJDYC, which was established in March 2020, is a forum for engagement and expression for persons in the diaspora, 18 to 35 years old, and is critical to the sustainability of diaspora relations.
“Both Councils are important partners in our collective endeavours to secure a bright future for Jamaica,” Senator Johnson Smith pointed out.
She noted that in addition to the Councils, there are many initiatives being driven at the level of community organisations, philanthropic groups and professional associations.
She said that the Government continues to work with these organisations to realise their objectives.
The two-day Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium is being held under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future’.
Senator Johnson Smith said that the focus is fully aligned with the United Nations Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which together aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
“Our focus on sustainability throughout this symposium reflects the importance of working in partnership to realise these goals through our own Vision 2030,” Senator Johnson Smith said.