UNESCO and IOM have launched a joint SDG Fund project to strengthen Jamaica’s resilience to food and water insecurity – Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica — September 30, 2022: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will implement a joint program to build resilience of Jamaica in the face of food and water insecurity.

The project, largely funded by the European Union, through the United Nations (UN) Joint Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was launched today, at the ROK Hotel in Kingston, by the Honorable Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Dr Garry Conille, United Nations Resident Coordinator.

The project seeks to find solutions to enable Jamaica, as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), to address current and future global food, water and energy crises.

It is hard to overstate how much climate variability, erosion of biodiversity and the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the fragility of Jamaican food systems. Additionally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated food security issues. We therefore welcome this timely and important project aimed at building Jamaica’s resilience to food and water insecurity.
Marianne Van Steen, European Union Ambassador to Jamaica

In Jamaica, agriculture accounts for 8.68% of gross domestic product, with sugar cane, bananas, coffee, cocoa, citrus fruits and peppers being the main agricultural crops highly dependent on water resources. In rural areas of Jamaica, small-scale farmers and women farmers are generally more exposed to water insecurity and livelihood challenges, while representing untapped potential for innovation and community development. Jamaica’s food production sector has the widest gender gap in the Caribbean, with 30% of registered farmers being women. Project activities will focus on empowering rural women farmers in Jamaica’s breadbasket belt of St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Southern St. Ann and Manchester.

Rural women are among the most vulnerable groups in Jamaican society. Our goal is to understand rural women’s water management challenges in the agricultural ecosystem and empower them towards sustainable food production, water efficiency and environmental best practices.
Dr Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative and Director of the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean

Climate change, food security and environmental degradation all influence migration patterns. For this reason, IOM is coordinating with the government and our international partners to address the environmental drivers of migration.
Keisha Livermore, Head of Office, IOM

IOM’s head of office, Keisha Livermore, noted that climate change, food security and environmental degradation also influence migration patterns and that the UN agency that governs issues related to migration was coordinating with its partners to address the environmental drivers of migration.

“This includes rural-urban migration and patterns of urbanization in countries like Jamaica. IOM studies how food insecurity triggers displacement with a particular focus on how gender dimensions enable better understand how gender dynamics intersect with climate change vulnerabilities and associated mobility,” Livermore said. During the launch of the project, Dr. Paolini further underlined that “the joint UNESCO-IOM program has the potential to become a model that catalyzes innovative water management and brings about a change in the water-food nexus in the region. “.

Through this joint programme, UN agencies will deploy the collection of household data and information in the form of surveys for national and sectoral representation (quantitative), conduct key informant interviews (qualitative), to generate evidence on current food insecurity and trends in impact on livelihoods. in Jamaica. Research conducted during the project will be used to fill existing gaps in Jamaica’s food, water and agriculture database and inform the design of programs to strengthen the agricultural ecosystem and mitigate the rural-urban migration.

The goal is to ensure that we leave no one behind and that Jamaica builds its resilience to climate change and shocks and that we do this through sustainable management of natural resources. We believe that this joint program is aligned with Jamaica’s priorities and vision to advance the sector program and have a particularly positive impact on rural people and women farmers.
Dr Garry Connille, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Jamaica

Project partners include the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, Water Resources Authority, National Commission Water, University of the West Indies, Social Development Commission, Capital Investment Fund, Northern Caribbean University, National Environment and Planning Agency, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Inter-American Development Bank.

Government staff from relevant agencies will be trained in the use of the tools developed during the project. The project will continue until December 31, 2022.

About IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), established in 1951, works to ensure the orderly and humane management of migration in order to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to help find practical solutions to problems migration and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced persons.


UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture. UNESCO’s programs contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

For more information, please contact:

Dania Bogle at IOM Jamaica. Email: [email protected](link sends e-mail) Tel: 876-995-1932

Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga at UNESCO Jamaica. Send an email to [email protected](link sends e-mail).

Jomain McKenzie at the United Nations in Jamaica. Email: [email protected](link sends e-mail).

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