Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has appealed to more developed nations to enter into a debt for nature swap agreement with developing countries.
Mr. Holness said that this debt swap would be mutually beneficial, in protecting and preserving the environment for future generations.
“Debt is a major problem for the developing world, and debt limits the ability of the developing world to protect its own environment. So, by forgiving the developing world their debt, the developed world can purchase the protection of the environment,” he suggested.
“The environment affects the entire world so developed countries, whose leaders understand that they alone in their country cannot protect the world environment, need to co-operate with the developing world,” he added.
Students of the Holy Trinity Early Childhood Institution performing a cultural item during the closing ceremony for the inner city child support project (Phase II) of the Bernard van Leer Foundation at the VOUCH complex, National Heroes Circle, Kingston on Thursday (July 9). The overall purpose of the project is to improve the educational, health and nutritional status as well as the care and protection of children zero to six years of age in 12 inner city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
A debt swap or conversion is an arrangement where part of loan repayments in foreign currency is converted into investment in the debtor country, in local currency, at agreed rates, for agreed purposes and through agreed procedures.
Mr. Holness was speaking at the closing ceremony for the Bernard Van Leer Foundation’s Inner City Child Support project (Phase II), at the VOUCH complex, National Heroes Circle in Kingston on Thursday (July 9).
The Education Minister noted that global warming was of utmost importance and, as such, it is critical to ensure that children, particularly at the early childhood institutions, are exposed to environmentally friendly practices and concepts.
“The developed countries know that global warming can affect them, it affects everybody, debt prevents us from having an education system where we can actually teach our consumers to be environmentally friendly consumers. Forgive us the debt, and we guarantee you that we will use that forgiveness in such a way to create consumers in the developing world who will be environmentally conscious, environmentally aware and who will protect the environment,” Minister Holness said.
Minister of Education, Andrew Holness (left) addressing the closing ceremony for the inner city child support project (Phase II) of the Bernard van Leer Foundation at the VOUCH complex, National Heroes Circle in Kingston on Thursday(July 9). Looking on are Chairman, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Dale Webber (right) and Communications Specialist, Marcia Erskine. The overall purpose of the project is to improve the educational, health and nutritional status, as well as the care and protection of children, zero to six years of age, in 12 inner city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
He noted that the Child Support Project Jamaica Phase II is one that the Ministry is very supportive of, as it aligns with the objective of the Government and the Ministry.
The Minister urged other stakeholders to become involved and sponsor and implement more programmes like this one, while lauding all the stakeholders in the process.
The Child Support Project Jamaica, Phase II was implemented between the period April 2006 and July 2009, and is a follow up project to an earlier initiative undertaken July 2001 to December 2004.
The overall purpose of the project is to improve the educational, health and nutritional status, as well as the care and protection of children, zero to six years of age, in 12 inner city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew.
Under the theme ‘successful transitions’, over 6,000 pre-school and basic school children in the communities of Bennett Land, Greenwich Town, Whitfield Town, Rose Town, Allman Town, Kingston Gardens, Fletcher’s Land, Swallowfield, Jones Town, Arnett Gardens, Tavern and Cedar Valley, have been exposed to programmes and materials to help improve their educational performance, transition, nutrition, health status and care environment.
The project also targets some 2,000 parents, 60 basic school principals, 240 teachers and members of the Parent Teachers Association in the respective communities.
It was funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, with overall funds management and counterpart funding support from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica. Other supporting agencies include the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH), the Environmental Health Foundation and Hope for Children Development Company.