As new UN development agenda takes shape, Jamaica urges action on job creation, social protection

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of Jamaica. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

28 September 2013 – With discussions under way at the United Nations on defining a road map for the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, the Prime Minster of Jamaica urged an agenda that prioritized job creation, especially for youth, and on enacting social programmes to keep vulnerable people from “falling through the cracks.”

“In our deliberations on a post-2015 development agenda, we must determine how best to shape a global compact that is universal and people-centred,” Portia Simpson Miller told the General Assembly, urging a framework that strikes a balance between the need for robust economic growth, job creation, poverty eradication and theIt is imperative for us to accelerate our efforts with the limited time remaining. Anything less would be a disservice to our people. equally important need to preserve and protect the environment.

She was among several speakers addressing the Assembly’s annual General Debate – this year focused on identifying a sustainability agenda to succeed the anti-poverty targets world leaders agreed to achieve by 2015 – who highlighted the urgent need to focus on generating jobs.

With the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) having reported that the number of unemployed people worldwide will rise to 200 million by the end of this year, Ms. Miller said that increased investment in developing countries with a focus on job creation is an avenue that must be actively pursued.

She went on to urge more assistance for people to cope with daily life, as growth and prosperity are unevenly distributed and the most vulnerable are at risk of “falling through the cracks.” As such, she said that social protection schemes should work effectively to provide for basic needs and encourage target groups to pursue self-advancement, while facilitating empowerment, and fostering greater inclusiveness.

As the deadline for the attainment of the MDGs draws near, in under 1,000 days, Ms. Miller said the international community faces many other challenges, including the global economic and financial crisis, climate change, natural disasters, high levels of debt and conflict. “It is imperative for us to accelerate our efforts with the limited time remaining. Anything less would be a disservice to our people, she said.

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