The Government has commenced work to develop a roadmap to guide the implementation of the United Nations (UN) post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Jamaica.

A five-member United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mainstreaming Acceleration Policy Support (MAPS) Mission Team was in the island from October 24 to 28 for consultations with the National Core Group on SDGs, at the request of the administration.

Members of the group include: representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), and the UNDP’s office in Jamaica.

Mission Head, Nik Sekhran and team members provided an update during a debriefing at the PIOJ’s head office in New Kingston, recently.

He indicated that the consultations focused on a number of areas and entailed several activities.

These include: a rapid integration assessment, focusing on alignments between the goals of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica and the SDGs; the coordination of engagements through institutional mechanisms; prioritizing and financing of the SDGs; monitoring and reporting; and developing an SDG action campaign.

“We have validated your approaches and the extent to which the global agenda addresses your plans, and I can happily say that Jamaica is truly ahead of some of the largest countries, such as China, India and Malaysia in many respects,” Mr. Sekhran said.

Acknowledging Jamaica’s economic challenges, Mr. Sekhran said within the context of the SDG’s implementation, “you have to be practical as to what you can do now and what you need to do later,” to achieve greater levels of growth.

In his remarks, PIOJ Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, noted that Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its quest to achieve sustainable economic and social development.

This, he said, as the country prepares to conclude one economic management programme, embodied in the support of the Government’s Medium Term Framework (MTF) by the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The Director General further said this was also evident in Jamaica’s ongoing undertaking to implement programmes, “learning from the efforts surrounding (implementation of) the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and now with the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“We think there is need for continued public awareness and education around the importance of what we are doing and how far-reaching it is,” Dr. Henry added.

For her part, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Jamaica, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, reaffirmed the organization’s support to work with the Government and other stakeholders in implementing the SDGs “to ensure that no one is left behind.”

The UNDP Mission Team’s agenda and deliverables were identified through consultations with the National Core Group.

The Team has produced a draft report which will be the subject of further discussions among various stakeholders, including representatives of civil society and the private sector.

These discussions will focus on identifying priority areas for action in order to accelerate growth and achieve national development imperatives as well as the SDGs.

On submission of the Mission Team’s final report, representatives of the National Core Group will make a presentation to Cabinet which, in turn, is expected to provide guidance on how they will proceed.

Consequent on this, it is expected that an implementation plan will be prepared during the 2017/18 fiscal year.

The SDGs, officially known as ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, is a set of 17 aspirational ‘Global Goals’ with 169 targets.

These goals include: ending poverty and hunger; improving health and education; making cities more sustainable; combating climate change; and protecting oceans and forests.