Oficina Regional para América Latina y el Caribe

Programa de las Naciones Unidas para los Asentamientos Humanos
Oficina Regional para América Latina y el Caribe - ROLAC





Jamaica, through the Ministry of Water and Housing, formerly the Ministry of Environment and Housing, has embarked on several strategies and activities aimed at fulfilling the goals and objectives of the Habitat II Agenda.

The Ministry's follow up programme commenced immediately after the Istanbul Conference with the organisation and hosting of the Fifth Meeting of Ministers & High Level Authorities of Housing and Urban Development Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI). This was also the first International Meeting held within the Region in the Post-Habitat Follow-up.

Several landmark initiatives have been made to facilitate the Habitat process: These include :

  1. A Habitat Secretariat

The establishment of a Habitat Secretariat in 1996 with an overall objective to coordinate & monitor the implementation of the twin goals of the Habitat Agenda and to promote the work of Habitat/Human Settlements at all levels of the society. The secretariat also seeks to encourage the forging of partnerships among national and local government, other public institutions, he private sector, youth, women and non-governmental organisations.

  1. National Shelter Committee

The reconvening of a National Shelter Committee in 1998, with the objectives of obtaining broad based participation was done in order to arrive at a coherent approach to the development and management of the human settlements and shelter sector. This committee comprise high level representatives from organisations working in or influencing developments in the sector.

The committee is involved in activities such as research, policy formulation and programme development.

  1. A Draft National Housing Policy

The Draft National Housing Policy is currently under review by the Ministry. This is being done within the framework of the National Settlement Strategy, the National Land Policy, the National Industrial Policy, macro-economic variables and national development criteria.

The Ministry has also formulated a Joint Venture Policy for housing development which seeks to build a platform for partnership, bringing together the resources of the public sector with the enterprise of the private sector, in an effort to provide adequate and affordable shelter for all Jamaicans in keeping with the goals of the Habitat Agenda.

This joint venture approach involves the coordination of initiatives by the various parties involved. It is a partnership developed to ensure that the best technically correct, financially viable and economically affordable solutions are obtained to meet the national shelter needs. To date, there are 40 such projects of this kind across the island at various stages of development.

  1. A National Best Practices Competition

The hosting of a National Best Practices Competition, since 1998 is in keeping with the structure and objectives of the International Best Practices Competition. Its main objective is to recognize and honour outstanding achievements in improving the quality of life in the human settlements sector in Jamaica.

The competition is open to all organsations and individuals from Government, local authorities, non-governmental and community-based organisations and the private sector. Winners are selected on the basis of having met the criteria such as the impact of the specific project in improving people's living environment and quality of life.

  1. The Initiation of the Environment Action Programme (ENACT)

The initiation of the Environment Action Programme (ENACT) seeks to formalize effective partnership between the Government, stakeholders and the wider public in environmental decision-making. Priority is being given to a comprehensive beach rehabilitation programme. A permit and licence system was implemented in January 1997 as part of an effort to control pollution through improved waste management practices.

  1. The Programme for the Resettlement & Integrated Development Enterprises (Operation PRIDE)

The implementation and expansion of the Programme for the Resettlement and Integrated Enterprises (Operation PRIDE) continues to be one of the major strategies being used by the government to improve the overall quality of shelter in the informal settlements sector as well as in providing shelter to many home owners in the lower income strata.

Through the promotion of "Sweat equity" communities are mobilized through the creation of formal and legal entities which assist in the planning, financing and implementation of housing developments and shelter projects.

Some 111 projects are being completed islandwide. To date 19 projects have been completed.

  1. Project Emancipation Lands

The initiation of Project Emancipation Land in 1997, by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, represents one of the strategies by which the government seeks to make lands available to all Jamaicans. The project predominantly utilizes government owned lands in parishes across Jamaica to provide serviced site for agriculture and agro-industry, commercial activity and housing. Entrepreneurs are selected to invest in and manage each project.

Presently, properties have been identified in thirteen of the fourteen parishes and the pilot project is nearing completion in the first phase of the project. This involves the development of approximately 250 service lots.

  1. The Titles Programme

The government has identified approximately 40,000 lots in Agricultural Land Settlements and Housing Estates for which land titles have not been delivered for decades, in some instances. Beginning the fiscal year 1999/2000, This Ministry has embarked on a plan to secure these titles over a five year period. This initiative will provide security of tenure for a significant number of Jamaican households, in addition to provide them with asset that can be used in economic activities and the promotion of individual and national development - resulting in an overall improvement in the quality of life for Jamaicans in the rural and urban areas.

  1. National Poverty Eradication Programme

In 1996 Jamaica's Policy Towards Poverty Eradication" and "the National Poverty Eradication Programme: A community Based Partnership Approach" was developed as a result of consultations with the private sector, academia, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations and international agencies.

The poverty eradication programme aims at empowering the poor by eliminating dependency and promoting self reliance in an attempt to build integrated communities. The programmed encompasses a wide range of activities to include , (i) Community Based Programmes, (ii) Human Resource and Social Development/Welfare, (iii) Economic Activities/Employment/Infrastructure, (iv) Environment and Natural Resources Protection.

  1. A Review of the Policy and Legislative Framework for Environmental Management of Human Settlements

The policy and legislative framework for environmental management and human settlements have been updated and modified since the Habitat II Conference. During the 1997/98 financial year the Town and Country Planning Act (1957) was amended with one of its chief goals to control the non-conforming uses of land. The Ministry has also developed a resettlement policy to address the matter of people who are displaced by development projects throughout the island.

  1. The Strata Titles Act

The Strata Titles Act have been amended in order to have in place the appropriate legal provisions to improve the management of strata properties as well as to correct problems relating to the operation of strata properties.

The Real Estate Board is fully operational in the implementation of the revised act.

General Comments

The realization of the twin goals of the Habitat Agenda is dependent on a country's ability and willingness to strengthen the capacity of its institutions. The Ministry of Water & Housing in fulfilling its mandate to provide sustainable human settlement is cognizant that the integration and co-operation of various stakeholders is essential in this ever increasing urbanized world.

In addition, International Cooperation/Assistance is needed particularly in the face of the vulnerability of Small Island States to natural disasters and their impact on human settlements. These issues will certainly play a role in Jamaica's ability to continue to successfully implement the objectives, goals and principles of the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda.


Housing Directorate
Ministry of Water & Housing
2000 February 28


UN - Habitat
Oficia Regional para América Latina y el Caribe
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20210-030    RJ - Brasil
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