The Economic Affairs Department is responsible for identifying critical developments and trends in the international economy and for predicting the effects these will have on Jamaica and its quest for the achievement of sustainable development. The Department provides policy and strategy advice for Jamaica’s participation in the international economic system, which forms the basis for the country’s participation in the international arena.
Areas of emphasis include:
· The coordination of responses, in collaboration with other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to the international economic challenges posed to Jamaica including:
its classification as a Middle Income Country (MIC);
the current global financial and economic crisis; and
· South-South cooperation and the benefits which may be gained through mutual assistance among developing countries. Jamaica will continue to play, an active role in organisations such as the:
Group of Seventy-Seven and China (G77), the largest coalition of developing countries in the United Nations system, working to enhance economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
Group of Fifteen (G15), set up to foster cooperation and provide inputs for other international groups such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries; and
South Centre, an intergovernmental think tank, located in Geneva, established to promote South solidarity, and mutual knowledge and understanding among the countries and peoples of the South.
· The tracking of Jamaica’s progress towards implementing its obligations in relation to :
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals;
the Hyogo Framework for Action;o Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
· The coordination of Jamaica’s participation in fora including the:
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);o United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UN-CSD);o Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly;o United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC);o Latin American Economic System (SELA); and
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
Marine affairs fall within the ambit of the Department, which functions as the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the International Seabed Authority (ISA). Jamaica’s involvement in the work of the ISA and ensuring adequate representation at the annual sessions is coordinated by the Department. The ISA, which is the only international organisation in the Caribbean and South America, is currently developing regulations for deep seabed mining.
The Department also contributes to Jamaica’s ongoing work in delimiting the country’s maritime boundaries with neighbouring states. It functions as the Secretariat of the National Council on Ocean and Coastal Zone Management (NCOCZM), an advisory body to Cabinet on ocean and coastal zone affairs, and its Committees. As the NCOCZM Secretariat, the Department is currently coordinating a number of initiatives, including the development of:
· an island-wide tide gauge network in an effort to measure and track sea-level rise;
· legislation to regulate diving activities in Jamaica;
· a management policy for Jamaica’s cays, rocks, islands and associated ecosystems;
· guidelines for the management of ballast water; and
· guidelines for the handing of ship-generated waste.
The Economic Affairs Department oversees the air services agreements (ASAs) between Jamaica and other countries. It also assists in facilitating the negotiation of international investment agreements including the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, also known as Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), and those for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income, more commonly called Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs).