JIS News

A national consultation is to take place at the Jamaica Conference Centre on February 3 to review a report on the activities of civil society groups and their impact on sustainable development goals.
More than 200 persons from community-based groups and non-governmental organizations, including members of the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Civil Society Advisory Committee and representatives of international lending agencies and other consultancies, are expected to attend.
Sponsored by the IDB in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the national consultation is the culmination of a series of island-wide workshops held in November of last year, which sought to identify and evaluate the work of various civil society groups in Jamaica.
Selection of the groups to participate in the workshops was dependent on how their activities related specifically to the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), emanating out of a Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in the Caribbean country in 1994.
The BPOA outlined 14 priority areas for sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and these include climate change and sea level rise, land resources, tourism, human resource development, science and technology, freshwater resources and management of wastes among others.
Another basis for selection was related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which emanated from a global conference in1998, and was formed into the Millennium Declaration by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000. These goals include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.
A National Civil Society Report was compiled from the information gleaned from all the workshops and consultations.
Ms. Joyce Hewett, Consultant with the IDB, told JIS News that the national consultation would provide an opportunity for civil society groups, which participated in the workshops, to review the report, to ascertain its accuracy and determine how well it represented their concerns, as well as to have input into policy directives.
It is anticipated that the national report will feed not only into the policies of lending agencies such as the IDB but also, the recommendations on the role of the government in attaining the goals of the BPOA and MDG.
“We must recognize that in many of the instances, government and civil society must have some sort of a partnership. Above and beyond that, maybe there is room for those, who are not in partnership with the government, to identify an advocacy role, so that, they can in fact take certain measures and steps to ensure that government fulfils its role,” Ms. Hewett noted.
“One hand cannot clap.it takes both the government and society to really strive to attain these goals, which will be for the ultimate benefit of all. The role of the IDB and UNDP , through the support of various policy mechanisms and portfolios, is to ensure that this takes place,” she said further.
The National Civil Society Report will lay the groundwork for representation to a special consultation sponsored by IDB with respect to the MDGs, scheduled to take place in Ocho Rios, St. Ann from February 18 to 19.
This special consultation, which will follow a regional conference on February 16 and 17, will further serve to focus preparations for the Fifth International Conference on MDGs to be held in Mauritius in August of this year.

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