It is with great pleasure that I deliver this message highlighting the mutually beneficial cooperation between the Government and People of Japan and the Government and People of Jamaica through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
JICA, established in 1974, as an Incorporated Administrative Agency of the Japanese Government, continues to uphold its vision of "Leading the World with Trust" in accordance with the initiatives and policies of the Japanese Government regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The people of Japan share an unbreakable bond with the people of Jamaica that spans nearly six decades. As a demonstration of the Japanese commitment to Jamaica's development, JICA has been extending Japan's ODA through different modalities and programmes since the 1970's. In July 1989, JICA officially opened its office in Kingston, Jamaica. Since then, JICA Jamaica Office has been effectively implementing programmes and projects; undertaking cooperation modalities such as concessional ODA loans; Grant Aid and Technical Cooperation; including Knowledge Co-Creation Programme (KCCP), a training programme offered in Japan, and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) Programme.
Since Jamaica is susceptible to hurricanes and other natural disasters, and is also heavily impacted by external factors such as the trading partners' economic conditions, we are playing a pivotal role to assist in overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island developing states (SIDS). With this in mind, JICA's cooperation to Jamaica focuses on: 1) disaster risk management and the environment, and 2) disparity reduction.
In this regard, JICA started dispatching Japanese professionals to the country via the JOCV Programme. We have dispatched volunteers in the areas of Disaster Risk Reduction, Environment, Health, Education, Agriculture and other specializations mostly with a two-year tenure. These volunteers in their twenties through to their sixties possess specialized skills and knowledge, which they have been sharing with their Jamaican counterparts, who play a leading role in the socio-economic development of Jamaica. A cumulative total of 462 JICA volunteers have worked with their Jamaican counterparts and community residents in the past 32 years.
We have also implemented projects in areas of Disaster Prevention and Reduction; Water Supply; Sewage System; Health; Fisheries; Vocational Training among others through the decades in different modalities. In 2020 through 2021, we continue to implement a concessional ODA Loan project, a Grant Aid project, and also a Technical Cooperation project, which are mentioned in detail below.
[Loan Project] MONTEGO BAY WATER SUPPLY (GREAT RIVER) PROJECT
Loan Agreement signing month: November, 1988
Loan Amount: JPY 4.72 Billion
[Loan Project] THE KINGSTON METROPOLITAN AREA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT
Loan Agreement signing month: July, 1996
Loan Amount: JPY 6.64 Billion
[Technical Assistance] STREGTHENING OF HEALTH CARE IN THE SOUTHERN REGION
Project Period: June, 1998 - May, 2003
[Technical Assistance] CAPACITY BUILDING FOR WATER MAINTENANCE
Project Period: March, 2007 - November, 2010
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has been ravaging the world. However, in the face of this uncertainty, opportunities for people to gather are shifting online, and new norms were created in JICA's operations. The Knowledge Co-Creation Programme (KCCP) continued and JICA organized and trained twenty-nine (29) participants from nine (9) Jamaican organisations, in seven (7) subject areas during COVID-19 via online learning platforms due to travel restrictions associated with the pandemic. The KCCP continues to serve as a mutual learning platform. Similarly, JOCV volunteers who had to returned to Japan prematurely continued to support Jamaican organisations virtually. One volunteer built and managed the website and other social media accounts for one of our partner organisations whilst in Japan.
The JICA Alumni Association of Jamaica (JAAJ) voluntarily formed in March, 1998 by former KCCP participants, have organized a technology transfer seminar (webinar), in February, 2021, where the most recent participants of KCCP made presentations about what they learnt during their training session in Japan. The JAAJ also held a Cultural Extravaganza in November 2020. The hybrid event featured virtual performances and presentations, as well as demonstration of culturally enlightening blend of food and artistic expressions from Jamaica and Japan. Since 1974, more than 650 Jamaican experts and professionals participated in the KCCP courses.
In 2020, the "North and Latin America Data Collection Survey on Marine Plastic Litter in the Caribbean Region" was conducted online in Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean region. This was organised as part of JICA's contribution toward the realization of the "Osaka Blue Ocean Vision" to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050, which was shared at the G20 Osaka Summit held in Osaka, Japan in June 2019. The "MARINE Initiative" also launched at the Summit by the Government of Japan aims to advance effective actions to combat marine plastic litter at a global scale focusing on (1) Management of wastes, (2) Recovery of marine litter, (3) Innovation, and (4) Empowerment. Based upon the Survey results, JICA is considering ways to further support Jamaica's efforts in the area of waste management.
[Data Collection Survey] NORTH AND LATIN AMERICA DATA COLLECTION SURVEY ON MARINE PLASTIC LITTER IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION
Survey Period: May, 2020 - October, 2020
In December, 2019, the Most Hon. Andrew Michael Holness, O.N., M.P., Prime Minister of Jamaica paid an official working visit to Japan, and held a Summit meeting with Mr. ABE Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan.
JICA's president KITAOKA shinichi greeted Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness of Jamaica at JICA's Headquarters in Tokyo on December 13, 2019.
Prime Minister ABE mentioned JICA's ongoing Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan, the Project for Energy Management and Efficiency Programme (EMEP), aimed at introducing energy-saving technologies and equipment in Jamaica, in order to overcome vulnerabilities particular to the SIDS. Prime Minister Holness expressed concerns regarding climate change, expressed his support for Japan's initiatives in the areas of climate change, environment, and disaster risk reduction, and appreciated Japan's assistance to small island states, including Jamaica.
In 2021, JICA continues to implement the concessional ODA Loan project of US$15 million, "Energy Management and Efficiency Programme" (EMEP) , which is co-financed with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through its Co-financing of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CORE) mechanism, and with the European Union Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF) grant. This program includes the implementation of an urban transport management system (UTMS). The loan will also provide training and coaching for National Works Agency's staff to operate and maintain these systems, which will help reduce congestion, curtail air pollution, save fuel, and ameliorate the low productivity attributable to gridlocked streets.
We have an on-going Grant Aid project of up to 1.4 billion yen (or approximately US$ 13 million) for the "Project for Improvement of Emergency Communication System" to help reduce the impact of disasters. The project will improve the digital radio communication system (including 24 radio repeater stations, 15 integrated command and control stations, two-way radio terminals, 15 early warning systems, six radio repeater station buildings and others) deployed throughout Jamaica. Detailed design work, construction supervision and other consulting services will be provided to facilitate the prompt, stable transmission of information between the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, other disaster risk reduction authorities and agencies concerned and to the general populace.
As a result of the first Japan-CARICOM Summit Meeting held in July 2014, JICA is also implementing a Technical Cooperation project, the "Project to Promote Energy Efficiency in Caribbean Countries" to help improve energy security through the introduction of renewable energy and promotion of energy efficiency to Jamaica and other two CARICOM member countries from 2019 through 2022. Jamaica relies on imported fossil fuel resource, so reducing energy consumption by promoting energy efficiency, and reducing the rate of imported fossil fuel resources by introducing renewable energy sources, are a challenge to ensure energy security.
In this COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 world, we at JICA Jamaica Office and all JICA personnel in Jamaica have adhered to JICA's principles, clearly outlined in our mission statement and we have strived to cooperate with local ministries, departments and agencies, which provide communities with improved services. With all modalities of Official Development Assistance, we at JICA Jamaica Office stand ready to continue to perform our work with the Government and People of Jamaica, building on the solid foundation of cooperation laid over several decades, and assisting Jamaica to achieve goals and outcomes of Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Development Plan, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Finally, special appreciation is extended to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, and all other public and private entities for their consistent cooperation.
TAKANO Takeshi (Mr.)
JICA Jamaica Office