KINGSTON — Officials from the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries and National Security have welcomed the extension of multi-billion support to Jamaica under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
The ($3.4 billion) US$39.4 million agreement, which was signed at the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Oxford Road offices on May 4 will support the implementation of long-term development and medium-term plans for the period 2012 to 2016 in three targeted areas: environment; social empowerment and equity; and safety, security and justice. The money will be allocated through the two Ministries.
Chief Technical Director in the Agriculture Ministry, Dr. Marc Panton, speaking at the signing ceremony, said that the assistance will help in addressing rural poverty and food security in keeping with the provisions of Vision 2030 Jamaica-National Development Plan.
He pointed out that the agriculture sector contributes 5.7 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and represents close to 20 per cent of the working population.
“It represents some 240,000 to 250,000 farmers and if we were to apply a multiplier effect… you are looking at well close to 50 per cent of the population that has direct or, at least, indirect benefits from agriculture.
“So agriculture plays a significant role in poverty alleviation. It certainly plays a significant role in rural life development, food security…and clearly, that ties into the direction that the UNDAF will be going (and) food security is certainly one of the main issues to look at,” Dr. Panton said.
Permanent Secretary in the National Security Ministry, Dianne McIntosh, in welcoming the assistance, said that the UNDAF’s provisions mirror the imperatives of the Ministry to address crime prevention and security.
She noted that pillar two – social empowerment and equity – is in keeping with the National Crime Prevention and Safety Strategy being promulgated, which emphasises a strategic and co-ordinated response to crime that extends beyond traditional law enforcement methods.
“This pillar seeks to address several risk factors that threaten Jamaica’s safety and security by focusing on social exclusion, poor educational outcomes, youth unemployment, youth resilience to drugs and alcohol, and peaceful co-existence,” she outlined.
Ms. McIntosh noted that already, efforts are advanced in addressing these issues, citing partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish and strengthen crime prevention and safety committees in priority parishes this year.
In addition, the construction of a dedicated juvenile remand facility, which is near completion, she said, will allow for the removal of children from adult lock-ups, while increased focus has been given to children deemed at-risk, young people and their parents, through social intervention initiatives, among them the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).
The Permanent Secretary stated that the merger of the CSJP with the Community Security Initiative (CSI) has expanded the programme’s reach from 26 to 39 communities, and “will allow us to offer services to more rural youth, an area of focus in the UNDAF, as the full suite of programmes will now be offered in selected communities in the rural parishes of Clarendon, St. Ann and St. Mary”.
“We are anxious to make progress on the armed violence prevention discussions that commenced last year with the various United Nations partners, and anchored by the UNDP,” Ms. McIntosh added.
The allocation from the UNDAFis an extension of the $7.5 billion initial support to the country from 2007 to 2011 for initiatives in education, HIV/AIDS, poverty and the environment, health and justice, peace and security
It is anticipated that the success of the UNDAF in Jamaica, will be pivotal in enabling the Government to realize the goals of the Vision 2030 Jamaica, which aims to make the country the place of choice to live, work, do business, and raise families.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter