Secretariat Reports Steady Progress in Implementation of Vision 2030

Photo: JIS Photographer Programme Director for Vision 2030 Jamaica, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Richard Lumsden, spoke with JIS News about implementation of the country’s long-term National Development Plan.

Story Highlights

  • The Secretariat has piloted several activities since the implementation process commenced in 2009
  • These include development of the 2009 to 2012 Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF)
  • 2013 marked the fifth year of the Plan’s implementation

The Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat, located at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), is reporting steady progress in the implementation of Vision 2030 Jamaica, the country’s long-term National Development Plan.

Vision 2030 Jamaica is intended to position the island to achieve developed country status by 2030 and, in the process, make it “… the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.”

Programme Director for Vision 2030 Jamaica, Richard Lumsden, tells JIS News that the Secretariat has piloted several activities since the implementation process commenced in 2009.

These include: development of the 2009 to 2012 Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF), which was tabled along with the National Plan in Parliament in 2009. This is the first of seven consecutive three-yearly implementation frameworks for the priority areas for development up to 2030.

Mr. Lumsden says the Secretariat has also completed the 2012 to 2015 MTF, which sets out the priorities for the second three-year period. Cabinet, he adds, has approved the new MTF which the Secretariat has now completed for printing and dissemination to key stakeholders, including the public. Additionally, he informs that the progress report on the first three years of implementation “will be ready shortly.”

On completion, the Programme Director says the report will be available in various formats to all stakeholders, to facilitate “full discussion and understanding of where we are in the process.” This, he adds, will be supported by a comprehensive public education programme.

Mr. Lumsden points out that 2013 marked the fifth year of the Plan’s implementation. He recounts that planning for Vision 2030 Jamaica commenced in 2006 and was undertaken up to early 2009 when the Plan and accompanying MTF 2009-2012 were completed.

He informs that during the Plan’s formulation period, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, and the country’s international development partners collaborated through a number of task forces, in preparing the sector plans for each of the economic, social, and environmental areas of national development, which were then integrated to create the overall Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan.

The Programme Director says consultations were held in various communities islandwide to solicit feedback and input in the Plan’s development by the wider public.

Mr. Lumsden asserts that based on the extent of public education activities, aimed at streaming the Plan’s objectives into the public domain, that have been undertaken, there is “increasing awareness” about Vision 2030 Jamaica, its importance to national development, and required involvement by all stakeholders.

These efforts, he outlines, have incorporated the inputs of stakeholders, including: the Ministry of Education, Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Social Development Commission (SDC), and Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

Mr. Lumsden informs that these agencies have partnered with the Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat to stage workshops, expos, and other events, “where we have been able to distribute educational and informational material, and engage the public in dialogue to communicate the Plan and raise awareness of the goals and outcomes.”

“We have also worked very closely with the Ministry of Education in terms of facilitating the distribution of thousands of copies of the Plan’s shorter version in all schools across the island. Education Officers in all the Regions have been sensitized about the Plan and how to mainstream it within school activities,” he adds.

Mr. Lumsden reminds that the Plan was developed during the most challenging period in recent history – the global economic downturn of 2008 and 2009 – and “we have seen progress in a number of areas.”  This, he notes, is in relation to the approximately 46 indicators used to measure progress in the areas of health, education, social protection, national security, the environment, and the economy.

With reference to the four national goals and relevant national outcomes, he says there has been improvement in some of the educational indicators. “We have seen improvement…in the level of certification in the labour force; we have seen an increase in the adult literacy rate; we have seen significant improvement in national security, with a sustained decline in the level of homicides and other (major) crimes. We have also seen an increase in the use of renewable energy,” he notes.

Mr. Lumsden points out that up to the end of 2011/12, approximately 25 per cent of the targets outlined under the Plan for 2012 had been met, while significant progress had been made in another 25 per cent.

“We review the targets every three years, (and) we have done considerable revision of the indicator framework for 2015, removing indicators where it has proved difficult to have adequate data to measure progress (and) introducing some new indicators. We will be able to report on those shortly,” the Programme Director says.

Indicators that have been removed include: incidence of public order infractions per capita; the percentage of change in gross sales of registered firms in the distribution sector; and loss of lives due to disasters.

Mr. Lumsden advises that new indicators have been introduced to measure the growth rate of recreational, cultural and sporting activities; case clearance rate in the Resident Magistrate’s Courts; and Grade Four literacy rates.

In relation to the provisions/stipulations of the new US$932.3 millionfour-year International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF), Mr. Lumsden says there has been a “very high degree of convergence” between the Government’s current economic programme, the EFF, and the MTF on outcomes, particularly over the next four years.  He notes that the economic programme and EFF focus on a number of priorities which are also reflected in the MTF for 2012 to 2015.

The Programme Director points out that the PIOJ was part of the Government’s team that negotiated the new EFF with the IMF, and that the concurrence between the government’s economic programme and the EFF, and their alignment with Jamaica’s national development goals, were a central part of the discussions that preceded the agreement’s conclusion.

“So, the framework is designed to address some of the key challenges in terms of the macro-economy and the business environment, and offer us the opportunity for enhanced performance, once we are able to successfully implement key projects for growth which have been identified (some of which are currently underway),” he tells JIS News.

Additionally, Mr. Lumsden says the EFF also stipulates minimum provisions for maintaining a social safety net to protect the society’s most vulnerable citizens during the period of economic consolidation.

“So (it) comes down to effective implementation and constant monitoring to make sure that we remain on track, not only in terms of the macro-economic targets, but also in terms of our broader national development targets as well. That process is ongoing,” he adds.

 

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