Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development Plan was created in 2008 with the adaptation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015; however, there has not been any deliberative discussions or review by central or local governments until now.
The scope of the auditor’s general report titled “Jamaica’s Preparedness for Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)” published in September included:
• An institutional framework for the implementation of the SDGs;
• Resource allocation and capacity building mechanisms;
• Strategies for raising awareness, monitoring and reporting on the progress of preparedness for SDG implementation.
The report points out several significant lapses in accountability that need to be dealt with urgency by our nation’s leaders, and that is the need for a strengthening of the institutional framework that governs the Vision 2030/SDGs implementation.
According to the report; the National SDG Core Group formed in 2017 comprising of the PIOJ, STATIN and MFAFT. It also stated that the “PIOJ assumed the lead role”; however, there was no documented evidence to confirm this role as the lead agency. Further, the auditor general found that the lines of accountability were unclear.
While we seek long-term funding for the full implementation of the SDGs, there must be strong an institutional framework that ensures our monitoring and accountability is in well organized and transparent or suffer mismanagement of resources. To this end, the report highlighted that the ministry of finance and public service has no representation on the national core group or oversight committee even though it has responsibility for collection and allocation of public revenue to allow for socio-economic development.
The report recommends that the Cabinet should consider “delegating overarching responsibility for coordinating the implementation”; this will “identify clear lines of accountability.” Also, “the formation of an internal mechanism to apprise Parliamentarians of their role and the approach to be taken with respect to matters relating to SDGs.”
Although this audit did not examine SDG preparedness at the sub-national level, I wish to implore every municipal corporation to adopt this audit, because SDG implementation at the local level, translates to national sustainable development.
The whole of government, including the Office of the Cabinet must take serious responsibility for fixing these mechanisms that will serve us well long after 2030, as they seek to strengthen our long-term planning, monitoring and evaluation capabilities.
Mario R. Boothe
SDG Accountability Advocate