Credit Susan Otuokon, Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT)

Description of project:

Jamaica has a very active civil society network that is working on essential forest governance and management issues, including advocating for forest sustainable management, conservation, and restoration. CANARI and its co-executing partners the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation  (CCAM) and the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) are implementing a project to enhance awareness and capacity of Jamaican civil society to engage in participatory budgeting and public finance management (PFM) for the forest sector.

This will support the Government of Jamaica’s programme to strengthen its public finance management (PFM) to improve governance and accountability, fiscal control, efficiency and effectiveness in resourc e use. The project will build capacity of a national coalition of Jamaican CSOs to engage in collective analysis, advocacy and dialogue with key government agencies to promote development of mechanisms for participatory budgeting/PFM for the forest sector. This will enhance capacity, build readiness and catalyse continued action by key CSOs working in the forest sector to engage in strategic budget formulation, budget analysis and debate, budget execution and reporting, and evaluation for accountability.

Funding is provided by the European Union (FED/2021/428-620) the project is being executed over the period December 2021 to November 2023. See here for the project summary.

Highlights:

  • A technical report was prepared mapping forest budget processes in the public sector and recommending potential mechanisms for stakeholder engagement.
  • The CSO Coalition for Forests are working in three action learning groups on: (1) building relationships with local government actors to get forest management issues on their agendas; (2) costing of the forest conservation and management activities by Coalition members to make the case for more active collaboration with and support from forest management agencies; and (3) political engagement with Ministers and Members of Parliament.
  • The CSO Coalition for Forests has published three briefing books on participatory budgeting for the forest sector in Jamaica – for Ministers and Members of Parliament, for Government agencies involved in the forest sector, and for Local Government. These highlight the Coalition’s key messages on what it wants considered during budget debates in Parliament for the 2024-2025 national budget.
  • Video profiles of 6 CSO members of the CSO Coalition for Forests were developed highlighting the importance of civil society allyship in lobbying for more government resources to be allocated towards forest conservation and management in Jamaica.
  • Profiles of each member organisation of the CSO Coalition for Forests were developed and shared via a social media campaign titled #ForestFridays. See the entire campaign by clicking on the graphic below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key activities and results:

  • Develop a national coalition of CSOs: A national CSO Coalition for Forests was established, with 27 members collaborating on knowledge sharing and learning, collective analysis, advocacy and dialogue with key government agencies to promote the development of mechanisms for participatory budgeting/PFM for the forest sector. JCDT serves as the convenor and secretariat. The Coalition will collaborate with other CSOs in Jamaica and engage with government agencies and other partners working on forest conservation and management. See the Terms of Reference here.
  • Conduct study on budgeting/PFM processes for the forest sector: A technical study was conducted via a desk review as well as interviews and focus groups with stakeholders. A draft technical report was completed, which will be finalised after validation and further input from stakeholders in January 2023. The technical report includes recommendations regarding potential mechanisms for stakeholder engagement in budgeting for the forest sector. A Political Economy Analysis (PEA) was also initiated, drawing on and complementing the technical study, to inform the selection of suitable mechanisms for stakeholder engagement in budgeting for the forest sector.
  • Conduct national capacity building workshops: A capacity assessment survey was conducted with members of the CSO Coalition for Forests to identify priority capacity building needs relevant to the project, i.e., related to forest conservation and management generally and participatory budgeting and advocacy specifically.  Priorities for capacity building suggested by the survey were: knowledge sharing and collaboration among Coalition members to build competencies and enhance work on forest conservation and management; strengthening access to financial resources to enhance capacity for effectiveness and sustainability; knowledge about national forest management priorities; knowledge about the budgeting process used by Government and opportunities for engagement; and capacity to lead advocacy initiatives. Coalition members have already participated in a series of webinars in 2022 to address these priorities and advocacy training is being conducted over May-June 2023.
  • Conduct action research and learning processes: Action learning projects are being implemented by the Coalition to test mechanisms for civil society engagement in forest budgeting identified by the  political economy analysis. Three action learning groups are working on: (1) building relationships with local government actors to get forest management issues on their agendas; (2) costing of the forest conservation and management activities by Coalition members to make the case for more active collaboration with and support from forest management agencies; and (3) political engagement with Ministers and Members of Parliament. Case studies will be documented on experiences, lessons and recommendations.
  • Implement awareness and advocacy campaign: An awareness and advocacy campaign strategy is being developed identifying communication objectives, key target audiences, messages, products and pathways, and indicators for evaluation. This will provide the framework for awareness raising on the findings and recommendations of the research and other information gathered, to promote stakeholder engagement in participatory budgeting/PFM for the forest sector.

Publications:

Recent news and blogs:

For more information, please contact Nicole Leotaud at [email protected].

See related work under CANARI’s Green Economy programme.

 

Photo credit: Susan Otuokon, Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT)