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Sexual Harassment affects both women and men and can incur significant social and economic costs in the Jamaican Workplace

  • 17 December 2019 |

Kingston, Jamaica December 2019: UN Women National Private Sector Specialist for the Win-Win: Gender Equality Means Good Business Programme in Jamaica, Dr. Denise Chevannes-Vogel, has underscored the fact that although the majority of victims are women, sexual harassment is experienced by both women and men and is perpetrated regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. “It is unwanted and unwelcome and can result in significant social and economic costs in the Jamaican workplace,” she said.

Dr. Chevannes-Vogel pointed out that sexual harassment leads to an intimidating and hostile work environment in which workers become demotivated, discouraged, emotionally fragile and broken. “They leave and this can result in the cost of having to retrain workers or in very expensive lawsuits,” she noted.

Dr. Chevannes-Vogel was speaking during a “Multimedia Sensitisation Forum for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Private Sector Workplace” on Wednesday (December 11, 2019) hosted under the auspices of the regional programme Win-Win: Gender Equality Means Good Business”a strategic partnership between UN Women, the European Union and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The forum follows recent discussions by a joint parliamentary committee on the proposed Sexual Harassment Act 2019 which seeks to protect all women and men from unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and crude sexual behaviours that affect quality of life by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Almost 50 representatives from private sector organisations, government, civil society and women’s groups, international development partners and trade unions attended the event. The Win-Win programme promotes the economic empowerment of women, recognizing them as beneficiaries and partners of growth and development. In the Caribbean, where the majority of households are headed by single women, women’s economic independence is important to support their families. Sexual harassment can ultimately impact continued employment and ability to earn an income.

In Jamaica, the Win-Win Programme is working with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport through the Bureau of Gender Affairs to develop an awareness and communications campaign around the upcoming Sexual Harassment law in Jamaica.

Senior Director, Bureau of Gender Affairs, Mrs. Sharon Coburn Robinson said members of the public are invited to take part in the process by submitting their contributions to the House of Parliament by 23 December ,“Once the submissions are made the Joint Select Committee will make a determination as to how soon it is heard and how are taken on each sitting.” She said the sittings will be held weekly starting in January 2020 to make sure the legislation is swiftly treated.

source : UN Women Caribbean



The Future of the Caribbean is Single-use Plastic-Free

  • 10 May 2019 |

Statement on the Ban of Single-Use Plastics, Jamaica

Vincent Sweeney, Head of the Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, UN Environment

The future of the Caribbean is to be free of single-use plastics and plastic pollution. A Caribbean that is sustainable, resilient and growing economically must take care of the people and the industries upon which it depends. One of the ways we can effectively do this is to reduce our dependency on single-use plastics.

UN Environment’s Waste Management Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean, released in October 2018 finds that of the 145 tonnes of garbage produced each day, plastic waste contributes to 17 tonnes. This number is steadily increasing every day. Another recent report published by UN Environment, entitled “Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations” finds that at least one hundred and twenty-seven (127) out of 192 countries reviewed (about 66%) have adopted some form of legislation to regulate plastic bags. Plastic bags regulations globally include restrictions on the manufacture, distribution, use, and trade of plastic bags, as well as taxation and levies.

Waste management, and in particular, the disposal of plastics has been a great concern for Caribbean ministers; this was reinforced in our discussions with them as recently as last October at the Second High-Level Forum for Caribbean Ministers with Responsibility for Waste.

At that time, the Caribbean Ministers endorsed a Caribbean Waste Management Action plan which includes among others – the priority of reducing plastic waste.

It is for that reason, that the UN Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office applauds Jamaica for its bold move to ban single-use plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam.

Jamaica joins approximately seven Caribbean countries who have implemented measures to reduce plastic pollution. This is a forward step in ensuring a future in which we have achieved the Sustainable Development Goals related to Climate Action and preserving land on life and in the water.

Beyond achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we must also seek to preserve the complex link between the environment, and the social and economic development of the country. This will improve the present economic growth status and ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from the rich resources of the island.

 read the full story 


Jamaica to pilot mechanism to stimulate affordable, renewable energy

  • 06 May 2019 |

Jamaica set to pilot mechanism to stimulate affordable renewable energy.The innovative Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) mechanism is to be piloted in Jamaica as a means of stimulating uptake of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in the public sector through up front financing, expertise and greater accessibility.


The EPC model offers the opportunity to develop a sustainable financing mechanism for renewable energy interventions in Jamaica, thereby removing up front cost as a barrier.

Support will be provided to design and implement the pilot programme in the health sector in partnership with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), under the UNDP and PCJ-implemented ‘Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement in Energy Efficiency Project’ funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), PCJ and the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) provides customers with a suite of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures delivered typically by an Energy Services Company (ESCO). Among the services provided by the ESCO are energy audits, designing and planning, financing, construction and installation, as well as the evaluation and monitoring of energy use. According to project officials, ESCOs can help public entities overcome the lack of finances, time and expertise that local governments may face in identifying and implementing sustainable energy solutions.

In preparation for the pilot programme, UNDP and PCJ recently hosted a three-day workshop focused on building capacity of the team. The workshop welcomed 20 representatives of PCJ, Development Bank of Jamaica, the Jamaica Productivity Centre and project developers from the IDB’s Energy Management and Efficiency Programme (EMEP). The workshop was designed to improve understanding of the EPC concept and roles of ESCOs and Super ESCOs in implementing sustainable energy financing mechanisms; understanding of the risk mitigations for the development and implementation of EPCs; prepare participants to launch a Request for Proposal for the pilot; equip participants to undertake sustainable energy financing schemes within the public and private sector, geared at reducing Jamaica’s Energy Bill..

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Reggae listed in UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

  • 29 November 2018 |

Having originated within a cultural space that was home to marginalized groups, mainly in Western Kingston, the Reggae music of Jamaica is an amalgam of numerous musical influences, including earlier Jamaican forms as well as Caribbean, North American and Latin strains. In time, Neo-African styles, soul and rhythm and blues from North America were incorporated into the element, gradually transforming Ska into Rock Steady and then into Reggae. While in its embryonic state Reggae music was the voice of the marginalized, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups. Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual. 

[ learn more ]




Jamaican and Egyptian to receive 2018 UNESCO prize for girl's and women education

  • 03 October 2018 |

A Jamaican project to help school-aged mothers return to the classroom and another in Egypt which provides educational opportunities for marginalised girls will receive the 2018 UNESCO Prize for Girls' and Women's education.

UNESCO and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China will award USD 50,000 each to the Women's Centre from Jamaica and the Misr El-Kheir Foundation from Egypt, during a ceremony at the UNESCO's headquarters on 10 October (International Gay of the Girl Child)

The Women's Centre of Jamaica is rewarded for its project that targets girls who drop out of school because of early pregnancy, providing these school-aged mothers with academic and practical training, health services, nursing and more. Young mothers are encouraged to re-enter school to complete their basic education and some to advance to tertiary level. The project which has impacted on state policies in Jamaica, has been replicated in other countries, supporting girls and women in the acquisition of knowledge and skills for a fulfilling life, helping them transition to employment.

[ read the full story on UNESCO ]

 #worldteachersday #education #UNESCO

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Historic participation of Caribbean countries at the UN General Assembly

  • 27 September 2017 |

Caribbean countries made one of their most memorable participations in history during the latest General Debate of the UN General Assembly last week.

Emotional pleas to mitigate climate change and to support the costly measures necessary to adapt to its effects, as well as to “build back better” after the devastating effects of extreme weather were expressed by the region’s delegates. On the top of everyone’s mind were the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria as the latter was still making its destructive way across the Caribbean.

Even on the wake of the catastrophic hurricanes, preparedness, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction were not the only issues raised by the region.  Delegates also made compelling statements about the importance of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, and highlighted many of the vulnerabilities shared by Small Island Developing States. These included social and economic challenges, that range from debt to single sector economic dependency, human trafficking, migration and others.

Click on the links below to watch videos on demand of the Caribbean participation, or to read summaries and transcripts of the statements at the General Assembly.


H.E. Mr. Gaston Alphonso Browne,
Prime Minister
Antigua and Barbuda

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/ag_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/antigua-and-barbuda


H.E. Mr. Darren Allen Henfield,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Bahamas

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bs_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/bahamas


H.E. Ms. Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript   https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bb_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/barbados


H.E. Mr. Wilfred Elrington, 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/bz_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/belize


H.E. Mr. Roosevelt Skerrit,
Prime Minister

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/dm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/dominica


H.E. Mr. Elvin Nimrod,
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Video of speech  http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gd_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/grenada


H.E. Mr.  David Arthur Granger,

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/gy_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/guyana


H.E. Mrs. Kamina Johnson Smith,
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/jm_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/jamaica


H.E. Mr. Mark Anthony Brantley,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Saint Kitts and Nevis

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/kn_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-kitts-and-nevis


H.E. Mr. Allen Michael Chastanet,
Prime Minister
Saint Lucia

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/lc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-lucia


H.E. Mr. Louis Straker,
Deputy Prime Minister
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/vc_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/saint-vincent-and-grenadines


H.E. Mrs. Yldiz Pollack-Beighle,
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/sr_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/suriname


H.E. Mr. Dennis Moses,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Trinidad and Tobago

Video of speech http://webtv.un.org/
Transcript  https://gadebate.un.org/sites/default/files/gastatements/72/tt_en.pdf
News story https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/trinidad-and-tobago





7 Billion Dreams and 20 million dollars to get the ball rolling: Fulfilling the GEF IWEco Dream.

  • 05 June 2015 |

Billion Dreams and 20 million dollars to get the ball rolling: Fulfilling the GEF IWEco Dream. 

For World Environment Day 2015, celebrated on June 5, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) seeks seven billion dreams in consuming with care our planet’s resources. 

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has converted one dream to a reality for ten Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the approval of a regional, multifocal project which will contribute to the preservation and sustainable use of the Caribbean’s natural resources.

The Integrated Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF IWEco) Project recently secured approval and funding of USD20,722,572 towards the use of integrated approaches for the management of fresh and coastal water resources, ecosystem services and sustainable land and forest use across the Caribbean region. The five year project will see the participation of Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bahamas has also received approval for the development of a Medium-sized Project to be executed alongside the major project.

GEF IWEco will support policy, institutional and legislative reforms, and the implementation of effective appropriate technologies to help accelerate the Caribbean’s contribution to global targets such as those highlighted in the SAMOA Pathway and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Christopher Corbin, Programme Officer for UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme’s Assessment and Management of Environmental Pollution (AMEP) Sub-programme noted that‘the approval of the GEF IWEco project will provide the necessary funding for addressing environmental priorities such as poor sanitation, unreliable water supply, the sustainable use of biodiversity and enhanced capacity for climate change resilience’. He added that ‘as we consume our natural resources at an unsustainable rate, we must find viable innovative solutions, such as those available through the project, to manage the use of our islands’ resources’.

Currently in its inception phase, the project falls within the scope of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) and its Protocols concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (LBS) and Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW).These agreements commit Governments of the region to take serious measures in the management and sustainable use of their critical coastal and marine resources.

GEF IWEco will be co-implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and co-executed by UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the GEF Small Grants Programme and several other regional partners.

Mrs Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, Officer in Charge of UNEP CEP noted that ‘the increased support of approximately 30 varied stakeholders meant that the project would garner support from local, commercial and industrial sectors and provide greater community level benefits’. She added that the ‘GEF IWEco Project is a fulfilled dream of its predecessor the Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in Caribbean SIDS (IWCAM) Project, which was also funded by the GEF and executed by UNEP CEP, and will implement many of the lessons learnt from that project’.

In his message for this year’s World Environment Day, Mr Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UNEP stated that ‘there is still time to transform the challenges of dwindling and finite resources into opportunities that will promote prosperous economies and a healthy planet for generations to come’ and that is the dream the GEF IWEco hopes to set into motion for countries of the Wider Caribbean.

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