Jamaica - Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development


What do we do in Jamaica?
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Image of children in Jamaica

An estimated 1.3 million Jamaicans reside abroad, at least 36% of the population. High emigration rates and the large Jamaican diaspora therefore pose both development challenges, from brain drain to ethical recruitment, and development opportunities, from circular migration schemes to remittances.  

In this context, the Programme supports the government to engage the Jamaican diaspora for sustainable development. Building on earlier work under the Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies programme (Phase II), the Programme provided technical assistance in drafting Jamaica’s National Diaspora Policy. The Programme ensured that the diaspora’s key role in sustainable development is reflected in the policy and continues to provide targeted capacity development support to the development of an Action Plan for the policy, training stakeholders on how to best engage the diaspora for sustainable development. 

At the local level, the Programme will deliver direct assistance to forced returnees and women affected by migration in rural communities, providing them with IT literacy training to improve their livelihoods and employment opportunities. Along with pre-departure orientation support for migrants and a focus on migrant labour rights, the Programme focus is to ensure that migrants are protected and empowered across the migration cycle, from departure to return. 

The Programme’s support also allows the government to leverage migration data to ensure its policies are coherent and effective. The Programme’s technical assistance covers data collection, developing a monitoring framework and coordination between national and sub-national policies and ministries. The Programme delivers training on the linkages between migration and sustainable development, empowering the government and UN Country Team (UNCT) to mainstream migration into policies and planning. Through this training on leveraging the Global Compact for Migration and the 2030 Agenda, the UNCT and government will be sensitized on how to include migration considerations, including migration data, in the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, and how to connect its voluntary review of the Global Compact for Migration to sustainable development and the SDGs.

Finally, the Programme scales up the lessons learned from its activities in Jamaica by supporting the government to showcase its successes with the other 10 countries in the Global Programme and at regional and global fora. In particular, Jamaica will highlight its lessons learned, for example in the Caribbean Migration Consultations and the Global Forum on Migration and Development so that others may learn and potentially replicate these successes. 

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