JIS News

Expectations are high about the benefits that will accrue to Jamaica when the country’s National Report on its progress in meeting and implementing the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, is presented at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) in Geneva, Switzerland, in July.
The report, which was jointly undertaken by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and addresses key relevant issues within national and regional contexts, was officially launched at the PIOJ in Kingston on Thursday (May 28).
It highlights the significant progress made by Jamaica in the areas of poverty and hunger reduction; the attainment of universal primary education; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; and improved maternal and child health, four of the eight MDGs. This year’s AMR is being held under the theme: ‘Implementing the Internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health’.
Speaking at the report’s launch, Under Secretary in the Multilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Vilma McNish, in noting some of the challenges faced in efforts to implement the goals, expressed optimism that the presentation will boost Jamaica’s ability to attain the MDG targets by 2015.
“A critical element is, of course, the impact of crime and violence on the health sector and other areas of national development. We would use the opportunity to inform of the constraints being faced in attaining the MDGs and the other development-related goals. In addition, we wish to sensitise the international community on the steps being taken by the country to implement the MDGs.
“Our presentation would (also) seek to encourage the international community, especially the donor community, to fully commit to the implementation of Goal Eight of the MDGs, for the global partnership for development. The expectation is that the presentation will result in an exchange on the ways in which to strengthen Jamaica’s attainment of the relevant MDG targets,” she stated.
Ambassador McNish advised that Jamaica’s presentation will be made from the perspective of a middle-income developing country, faced with the challenges and vulnerabilities encountered as a small-island developing state.
“It will be critical to demonstrate that, even though Jamaica is characterised as a middle income country and, therefore, no longer qualifies, in many instances, for development assistance and concessionary funding, it still suffers from many of the ills which plague other developing and least developed countries, such as poverty, unemployment, and high illiteracy rates, among others,” she pointed out.
Jamaica, which will be presenting along with a number of other countries, will be the second Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state to make a national voluntary presentation (NVP) at the AMR, following Barbados in 2007. The reports, according to Ambassador McNish, are expected to highlight the initiatives, issues, policy directions, and challenges countries face in pursuing their strategies in the area of public health, as well as other development goals.
“This should include best practices that can be replicated by other developing countries. The interactive dialogue that will follow the presentation, provides us (with) the opportunity to clarify and elaborate on the challenges and constraints we face,” she added.
The ECOSOC was established under the United Nations Charter, as the principal organisation to co-ordinate economic, social, and other related work. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states, and the United Nations. The body is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress. Additionally, it aims to identify solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitate international cultural and educational co-operation; and encourage universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In 2005, ECOSOC was mandated to hold AMRs to facilitate efforts towards implementation of the United Nations Development Agenda (UNDA). AMRs provide an opportunity for countries to make national voluntary presentations, which will enable them to provide an assessment of their progress towards achieving the UNDA.
Last year, the Jamaican Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFA&FT), agreed to participate in this year’s AMR, with the PIOJ co-ordinating preparation of the report. This undertaking has been managed by a PIOJ-led Steering Committee comprising public and private sector professionals, drawn from the areas of education, health, agriculture, environment, social protection, and external co-operation.
“The Ministerial review and the NVP, in my view, should not be regarded as a one-off event, but as a process. At the national level, the policies and experiences reviewed, through the national voluntary presentation, should offer learning tools for the country’s overall development process. Having been involved in the process from the inception, I’m very much aware of the hard work that went into preparing the report. I wish to assure you that the MFA&FT remains committed in supporting the process up to and beyond the presentation in Geneva,” Ambassador McNish said.
The eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals being targeted for implementation within the next six years relate to: ending poverty and hunger; ensuring universal access to education, particularly at the primary level; facilitating gender equality; enhancing child, and maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and global partnership.

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