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The United Nations In Jamaica: Advancing the Development Agenda

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2015 | 4:30 PM
Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune
Sheila Rosseau
Kate Spring
Lone Hvass

The United Nations In Jamaica: Advancing the Development Agenda

The United Nations (UN), through its various organisations, has been working in Jamaica to address a number of development challenges facing the country.

Representatives of the organisations, who were guests at the latest Gleaner Editors' Forum, gave updates on their activities in Jamaica and highlighted areas in which work is ongoing.

As Jamaica and other countries around the world look to transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goal in the coming year, the agencies have already started to set the agenda for the issues they will focus on. The Gleaner asked each of them: What is the big-ticket item that your organisation would like to achieve in Jamaica over the next year?

Dr Jerome Thomas - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative, Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize: One of our goals is ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition. To make a significant impact in that area, we will be addressing the ability of children, who are challenged by nutrition and access to food, to go to school through our school-feeding programme

Sheila Rosseau - director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean: For the year, we would like to see a reduction in the adolescent pregnancy rate, and we are working diligently in this area to ensure every teenager has a fulfilling life, completes school and has employment opportunities, competes in the job market, and become a productive member of society

Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune - deputy resident representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): In the matter of climate change, for this year, what we would like to do is ensure the Government goes to Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) ready to negotiate. So I would wish that coming back from Paris, there is a strong decision made to help governments - especially Jamaica - to really put in place their adaptation strategies towards climate change.

Secondly, another area is ... trafficking in persons, which is huge in Jamaica. And so, our big-ticket item is that we move in 2016 to having the people aware about what is happening around them so that they will be able to identify cases of trafficking in persons and be able to address them properly.

Lone Hvass - United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) deputy representative: Our big-ticket item would be full adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but that will not happen in one year ... . So let me put a catch-up item and that would be full certification of Jamaica as being baby-friendly because that [has] dropped off [the] radar. We are down to zero again, then we are up to one and two on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Kate Spring - Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), country director: We would like to see that Jamaica declare itself HIV-transmission free. That is so close to possible that I want to go to the next one (big-ticket item), and that is, that everyone who is sexually active knows what their HIV status is.