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On this occasion, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said, “Today's cooperation programmes for a total of €20 million will support our Jamaican partners in two areas. Under the Forestry Programme we will support the Government’s vision to build up climate change resilience and protect precious forest resources. The program will support biodiversity, while paying special attention to developing a low-emission and climate-resilient economy. Under the Public Finance Management Programme we are assisting the Government in building the necessary structures of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services."
The first programme, the Budget Support for climate change and the environment focused on the forestry sector is valued at €16.55 million or J$2.3 billion. It is the second largest bi-lateral cooperation agreement between the EU and Jamaica for the period 2013-2020. The project will strengthen sustainable forest management in Jamaica by supporting modernisation of the regulatory framework and the enforcement capacity of the forestry department to include amending the Forest Act (1996) and supplying cutting-edge tools. It will also support actions on the ground to assist forest dependent communities including upscaling existing alternative livelihood projects (e.g apiary, eco-tourism related projects, trainings, etc) and strengthen public awareness/education regarding issues like forest fires. This will further the country's social and economic development and help build up its climate resilience.
The public finance management programme worth €3.65 million or J$509.1 million will assist the Government in building the institutional structures and systems to facilitate the creation and implementation of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services in Jamaica.
During his visit, Commissioner Mimica met with Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness. Their discussions focused on the country’s ongoing commitment to economic reforms, priority areas for future cooperation, the Post-Cotonou process and the fight against crime. The Commissioner later had the chance to see first- hand some of the challenges facing the country during a field visit to one of the historical parts of Kingston, Trench Town.
While in Jamaica, the Commissioner also met with representatives from CARIFORUM – the EU is CARIFORUM’s second-largest trading partner – and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. He signed five regional programmes on issues ranging from trade, regional integration and investments, to more effective justice systems.