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Government of Jamaica


Opening Remarks by PIOJ Director General, Dr Wayne Henry at the Voluntary National Review Launch, held December 9, 2021

Today we formally commence the process of Jamaica’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR); the results of which will be presented at the High-Level Political Forum in July 2022, hosted by the United Nations.

The VNR 2022 will be conducted in the context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be guided by the theme of the HLPF 2022: “Building back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda”. The general focus of the HLPF 2022 will be on the impact that COVID-19 has had on countries and their ability to meet the global targets, with specific focus on 5 goals: quality education, gender equality, life below water, life on land and partnerships. Today’s meeting will ventilate some of the main issues within each of these five goals and discuss policy perspectives to drive progress within these sectors.

The scope of Jamaica’s second voluntary national review evaluates progress on the 2030 Agenda for the period following the 2018 VNR, addressing the Decade of Action and Delivery for the SDGs launched in 2019. The VNR will include two thematic reports meant to acknowledge the role of private sector and local actors in national development through strengthening the corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework for the SDGs and assessing the level of local level alignment with the SDGs.

The first Voluntary National Review process in 2018, together with other local review processes identified the need to strengthen the framework of engagement and partnership, localization, alignment and mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation and capacity building to effectively implement the SDGs and leave no one behind. These have been the imperatives of the process of coordination whether at core, or through the whole of society approach.

This partnership framework has been foundational to national development- every stakeholder whether private or public, local or national level, together create the synergies that drive a coherent national development process. Gaps in engagement of the local level have been identified particularly with community-based stakeholders. In recognition of this gap, the second VNR will assess the level of alignment and mainstreaming of the SDGs at the local level, to inform a more continuous and sustained programme of engagement.

The SDGs are currently over 95 per cent aligned with the Vision 2030 Jamaica. The successive 3-year Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF) – the strategic policy framework for implementation of Vision 2030 Jamaica and the SDGs – presents alignment of the SDGs with the national goals and outcomes and the alignment of the SDG targets with the national and sector strategies and aligned policy-driven programming.

The development of the National Statistics System (NSS) and launch of the National Strategy for the Development and strengthening the legislative framework will enable clear direction on the production of statistics in Jamaica, harmonising standards, and definitions.

Whilst challenges remain, we continue to prioritize monitoring the SDGs on an ongoing basis, producing a progress report and statistical report 2019/2020 subsequent to the 2018 VNR process. The 2022 VNR will further interrogate the issues identified in these reports to inform action and strengthen delivery to meet the 2030 commitments.

Jamaica remains committed to the 2030 Agenda and addressing the challenges of financing, development cooperation and data for monitoring and accountability, which require a whole of government approach, with policy coherence and support from private sector, civil society and international partners.

Whilst we pursue development nationally, in the context of multilateralism, Jamaica participates in, and leads on major global issues including SDG financing, as well as environmental and social issues. Under the Paris Agreement, Jamaica revised its Nationally Determined Contributions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, setting more ambitious targets for reducing emissions by 2030 from 7.8 per cent to 10.0 per cent, and achieved target 14.5 of the SDGs, set for 2020, having met the 10.0 per cent target of coverage of protected coastal and marine areas.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges in development financing, in keeping with the recommendations of the Roadmap for SDG implementation 2017, innovative mechanisms are being developed to address the financing gap. Recovery and rebuilding require entities and networks to solidify their commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda and ensure that the gains of development are shared and felt by all Jamaicans.

This Voluntary National Review Process presents an opportunity for meaningful, systematic evaluation of the country’s performance against its commitments and facilitating inclusive and direct discussions on the issues and pathways to achieve the 2030 commitments. It will empower us with a tool to mobilize partnerships to achieve the shared vision for people, planet, prosperity and peace and to make Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.