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The Island Innovation Ambassadors for Jamaica felt it important to discuss outcomes from the Island Finance Forum that were specific to Jamaica and its Vision 2030. The island’s goals for sustainable development are ambitious and require efforts not just from the government and state entities. It requires accelerated, coordinated, and cooperative efforts from every segment of society working together towards achieving Jamaica’s aims.

On April 17th, the Jamaican Ambassadors organized a dialogue to discuss what was learned at the Finance Forum and how to apply it to Jamaica. Specific outcomes were explored to identify challenges, risks, and opportunities to improve access, availability, and utilization of sustainable financing regimes. This was in the context of the need to accelerate sustainable development objectives.

Stephen Snider, Jamaican Ambassador and masters student at Harvard University, started the event by providing an overview of the topics covered at the Finance Forum:

“The tools discussed at the Finance Forum are important areas Jamaican actors need to learn about and apply to their work. Financing for climate change adaptation and sustainable development is available and Jamaican projects should work to attract it.”

Christopher Chinapoo, Jamaican Ambassador and Managing Director at Five Star Quality & Justice Associates, gave a rationale for why the Jamaican Ambassadors hosted the session:

“Sustainable development and catalyzing finance for that development is not just the responsibility of governments. There is a need for civil society, businesses, and communities to actively work together to accelerate actions towards the sustainable development goals.”

Danielle Jones Cox, Jamaican Ambassador and Senior Director in the Office of the Cabinet, Jamaica described what she thought of the session:

“The discussions on Financing Jamaica’s Visions 2030 were insightful. It was good to hear the perspective of other Caribbean nationals who are also working through similar issues. The major theme I left our session with, is that financing has not necessarily been difficult to arrive at, rather the judicious use of those resources remains a major challenge.”

Tracey Edwards, Jamaican Ambassador and Sustainability Environmental Coach at Plakortis, shared her experience from the breakout groups:

“Participants focused on the actionable outcomes for funding and sustainability. The conversations were really good because what we wanted to do was use the tunnel approach and we did that by identifying key areas for Jamaica like investing in SMEs, developing food security, and focusing on Covid-19 recovery in the areas of health and education.”

The event was well-received on social media with many of the attendees joining because they saw the event’s title and felt motivated to join. One high-profile individual to join was the Mayor for May Pen, Winston Maragh, who participated in the breakout room, with Omar Chedda, Jamaican Ambassador and Senior Director at the Investment Unit of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. Omar said:

“Our breakout out-group looked at the project funding under the Green Climate Fund and urban renewal. Stemming from this, I will be assisting Mayor Maragh’s office in developing Green projects.”

This partnership is a testament to the value these conversations have in spurring action. The Jamaican Island Ambassadors stand ready to help all of Jamaica’s stakeholders to inspire sustainable development. 

To view the Island Finance Forum 2021 final report please click here.

You can find out more information about the Island Innovation Ambassador Program by clicking here.

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This occasional newsletter highlights events and stories about innovation in sustainable development for rural, remote and island regions. We want to change the discourse to demonstrate how islandness can be a driver for innovation.