Successive Jamaican governments and local civil society groups today received a strong endorsement from a senior European Union (EU) official for their stewardship of the various bilateral arrangements with the block of countries.
Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, says Jamaica has an “excellent track record” in their bilateral cooperation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all stakeholders — representatives of the government, civil society, private sector and Jamaican citizens — for strong commitment and excellent track record in our bilateral cooperation,” said Mimica.
“This is the result of a joint effort between a variety of actors across sectors and admirable example of partnership,” he added.
He was speaking today in Kingston before Jamaica and the EU signed two multi-million dollar grant agreements to provide budgetary support for the country’s Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform Programme and improved forestry management locally.
Under the agreements, the EU is providing 3.6 million Euros or J$509.1 million to finance the PFM initiative and 16.55 million Euros or J$2.3 billion to fund efforts to improve Jamaica’s forestry management.
The first disbursements, 950 Euros or J$132.5 million for the PFM programme and 2 million Euros or J$279 million for the forestry management component, were handed over yesterday.
Minister of Foreign Affair and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith says the agreements reflect the diversity and scope of the EU programme “and it’s continued alignment with the strategic priority of the Government of Jamaica”.
Johnson Smith says the budget support for the forestry management programme is intended to build the country’s climate resilience.
“Importantly, the programme will be seeking to better utilise forest resources for economic and social purposes,” she explained.
She says over the years Jamaica has been the beneficiary of up to 250 million Euros in budget support from the EU to undertake policy reform in the macro-economy, as well as the justice and national security sectors.
This support, she says, has positively impacted the lives of “so many Jamaicans in so many ways”.
“Indeed, there is hardly a sector or a Jamaican community which has not directly or indirectly experienced the benefits of the [EU] programme [in Jamaica],” said Johnson Smith.