UNDP Resident Representative's Remarks to Social Good Summit 2018

Greetings & Acknowledgements

  • Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Junior
  • Our host, President of Northern Caribbean University, Professor Dr Lincoln Edwards
  • Principal of the University of the West Indies Mona, Professor Dale Webber
  • President of University of Technology Jamaica, Professor Stephen Vasciannie
  • President of Caribbean Maritime University, Professor Fritz Pinnock
  • Colleague members of the United Nations Country Team and other heads of international agencies
  • Members of the academic community
  • Ladies and gentlemen,


Good morning!

Welcome to the Social Good Summit 2018, UNDP’s annual global event that spotlights technology innovation as a tool for accelerating action on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Our global hashtag, #2030Now aptly describes the urgency with which we must innovate our way to a new future. That’s 12 years remaining and counting.

Through the Social Good Summit, UNDP aims to place the focus on innovation that can help us end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.  

Tertiary institutions, represented here today by Northern Caribbean University, University of the West Indies, University of Technology, Jamaica and Caribbean Maritime University are doing important work that can shed new light on how to accelerate progress towards these goals.

Today’s Summit gives us an opportunity to take stock of innovation initiatives on-going in the nation’s top universities and better yet, to contemplate how to harness these innovations to advance our collective efforts towards sustainable development and in so doing achieve Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development Plan. Today, we have emphasized four critical areas identified in Roadmap for Implementation of the SDGs approved by Cabinet and reiterated in the Voluntary National Review that Jamaica presented at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held in NY this past July.


The four accelerators, which are linked to the four priority areas of Jamaica Vision 2030, are:

  • Health and Social Protection including non-communicable diseases – linked to Vision 2030 Goal No. 1
  • Social Cohesion and Community Security, including violence prevention and justice – linked to Vision 2030 Goal No. 2
  • Healthy natural environment with an emphasis on building a disaster-risk resilient society – linked to Vision 2030 Goal No. 4
  • Financing for the SDGs with a focus on advancing Jamaica’s participation in the blue and green economies.

How do we bring about change? The Changemakers’ Panel will provide us with some answers but already, it is clear that the first clues should arise from the regulatory environment for innovation to be presented by Government. We will wrap up the discussions by focusing on how to foster a culture of innovation in Jamaica, discussed from the experiences and perspective of youth and civil society.

For UNDP, the Social Good Summit does not end today. In collaboration with our partners, we will synthesize today’s presentations into a knowledge product on the state of innovation for the SDGs, with clear-cut solutions for advancing the culture of innovation in support of Agenda 2030 in Jamaica.

The Centre for Global Development recently found that the SDGs are unlikely to be met by 2030 without rapid, ubiquitous innovation. To this end, UNDP has placed innovation front and centre of its new strategic plan, and UNDP’s Administrator Achim Steiner convenes monthly conversations with UNDP Country Offices in order to inspire new ways of working across offices and cultivating innovation in the organization.  

UNDP took this march towards innovation-led development global in 2014, with support from the Government of Denmark, by establishing the Innovation Facility, a global mechanism providing technical support and funding to colleagues in UNDP Country Offices across all regions to test frontier technologies and new approaches to deliver better results. Since then, the Facility has invested in over 140 country-level experiments, across 87 countries and territories. UNDP Jamaica benefited from this funding in 2016 and awarded prizes to the top three innovators who answered our innovation call. Present with us here today is Ms. Danielle Tait, the first prize winner who will later present her innovation. This year’s summit is thus a continuation of our movement towards being more innovative to deliver the SDGs.

UNDP is your innovation for development partner, committed to harnessing the best of technology to empower lives and help nations build resilience to crisis. The scope of the 2030 Agenda leaves us no alternative: we must innovate to leapfrog above the myriad and complex issues that challenge our achieving quality standards of living for all.

In this room today, UNDP Jamaica is making digital resources on the SDG available to you on your smartphones via a local innovation: a device that does away with the need for an internet connection to access SDG-related information. This innovation, which solves the problem of still low, poor and costly internet access, allows us to share interactive, digital resources without challenge.

I am confident that in this space resides much of the innovation insight and experience that is needed to advance social good in Jamaica. UNDP stands ready to support you in unlocking and unleashing all that is resident in your institutions to advance progress towards ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. A warm welcome to all.  

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