“A Whole of Society Approach” in my opinion was at the centre of Jamaica’s participation in the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2018), more so than the emphasis on our upgraded upper middle income and our lack of resilience. The Forum took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York under the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.
I followed with interest the presentations, and found that every Jamaican was given full ownership of the Vision 2030 National Development Plan, from conception, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, yet, there is actually very little evidence that Jamaicans are actively involved in the attainment of the national outcomes that align to the Global Sustainable Development Goals.
The Cabinet has taken ownership of Vision 2030, but should a plan of such national importance be only left to the executive to manage or should every elected representative be able to contribute fully to the monitoring of the implementation, has this National Development Plan been debated or mentioned for debate in Gordon House since its original tabling?
In his presentation at a side event organized by UNDP and the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the UN, haply titled “2030 Agenda: a whole of society approach” Minister of State Pearnel Charles Jr outlined how critical for his government that the implementation had “citizen participation and a people-centered approach by building awareness” that “full consideration of youth and gender is imperative to policy design.
How then can a government say there is “people-centred approach” without the peoples elected representatives tasked with forwarding their views and concerns after discourse with constituents to parliament and municipal councils, refusing to bring Vision 2030 to their constituency, to their divisions? As a matter of accountability, this boils down to political expediency for whoever is at the political helm at the time.
Politicians and their parties haven’t been able to successfully engage our citizens in these complex discussions due to the regressive thinking and victuals they have fed the citizens for decades – an MP or councillor doesn’t see votes in explaining What is Vision 2030? and How we will attain the SDGs?
So, the question is who are the political owners of Vision 2030?
Mario R. Boothe