Jamaica hailed for strides in attaining Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is hailing the strides made by the Jamaican Government towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, by extension, the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.
UNDP Programme Specialist, Richard Kelly, cited steps taken to reduce poverty levels as well as unemployment.
"Our poverty rate in Jamaica is (trending) downward. There are still issues in rural areas, but, overall, our poverty rate is going down. In 2016, it dipped. Our unemployment rate has (also) dipped drastically to the point where we are saying that this is the best we are seeing it over the past decade," he said.
Kelly was speaking to JIS News on the final day of the Scientific Research Council (SRC) fifth Biennial Science and Technology Conference and Exposition at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 that are to be attained by 2030. They cover social and economic development issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.
Kelly pointed out that Jamaica is the first Caribbean island to produce a sustainable development report indicating the country's status in attempting to achieve the SDGs.
"I would say that we are a leading country at the moment in our region in terms of localising the SDGs and moving to implement them," he said.
Kelly also said that a country must invest in research and development (R&D) in order to realise growth and to achieve the full SDGs.
He pointed to countries such as China and the United States, which have already made such investments in R&D.
"Science, technology and innovation (ST&I) drive gross domestic product (GDP) growth and economic development. We cannot live without it and we cannot develop without it. It is essential," he said.
The conference and exposition, under the theme: 'ST&I in Business: Facilitating Trade and Global Competitiveness', is focused on providing information and solutions on key areas of national development.