Tue | Mar 31, 2020

FAO official wants greater urgency for Vision 2030

Published:Tuesday | February 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer
Dr Gillian Smith

An executive of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has called on local policymakers to use the regional conference set for March 5-8 in Montego Bay,

St James, to provide the impetus for their activities. This is if the country is to achieve its national vision statement that Jamaica becomes 'the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business'.

"The Sustainable Development Goals that all the countries have signed on to achieve, if we are really going to achieve them, really going to realise Vision 2030, this is going to require bold action. The pace that we are going at now, the work that we are putting in, is useful, but I really feel that there is need for a sense of urgency," Dr Gillian Smith, acting country representative for Jamaica, Belize and The Bahamas, told a consultation workshop last Wednesday.

"We need to look at bigger impacts. We need to look at how we upscale what we are doing. There are wonderful examples, I'm sure ... of things that are happening that can help to move and drive Jamaica's development agenda. They are not big enough yet, they are not coordinated enough. This is an opportunity for us to put some of those issues on the table. This is an opportunity for us to create groundswell in our dialogue," Smith told the gathering at Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.

Agriculture ministry targeting fisheries development

Shaun Baugh, director of policy and planning at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries described the upcoming Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) workshop as timely, given that the ministry is in the process of updating its sector strategy, with an emphasis on fisheries development.

"We are working with our partners to make it a little bit more modern, a little bit more responsive to what you and our clients and constituents are more in keeping with, and what we want to see for the sector. More important, we want to make it climate resilient and also to account for the various gender issues which are now emerging as a critical part of rural development.

"A majority of the population lives in the rural area below the poverty line, and if you were to dissect that a little more, you would find that women in the rural areas are more affected by poverty," Baugh admitted.

He said that Vision 2030 fell within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nation has set and Jamaica has signed on to. Baugh said that the auditor general has now made it a point of duty to audit, the ministry's programmes, plans and projects to assess if they were, in fact, in keeping with the SDGs the country inked.

"So it's important what I'm presenting here today, to show the alignment that as a ministry and as agriculture and fisheries portfolio, to show that we are not planning in isolation but as a part of a bigger picture."

The main task of the 35th FAO regional conference will be to discuss solutions for each of the various challenges and develop as a matter of urgency, an agenda to fight hunger and malnutrition, build a future without rural poverty, and transform agriculture to be sustainable and resilient to climate change.