To address threats and strains on growth and stability, Jamaica must become a more cohesive and inclusive country. Social cohesion is a driving force for political change and a mechanism that consolidates democratic values into social institutions, thereby strengthening government, public, and private sectors while building confidence among citizenry in their country’s ability to thrive. It is well known that functional, effective institutions both determine and result in social cohesion, which impacts the economic wellbeing of a society.1 In the 2010 Index of Social Cohesion, Jamaica ranked 56th, behind Cuba and El Salvador.
Jamaica is a small island nation, creating an even higher level of interdependence between the environment, economic and social systems. There are three major challenges to social cohesion, which undermine and threaten citizen security and overall wellbeing. They are: 1) a lack of climate change resilience and sustainability; 2) high levels of crime and violence; and, 3) the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. USAID/Jamaica is committed to assisting the country in focused areas for investment, as a complement to efforts by other USG agencies, international development partners and through public-private partnerships. Developing integrated programming with strong linkages between the sectors, we will maximize resource impact while also preparing our local partners and the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) to assume responsibility for projects, with a goal to transition some activities to total local ownership.