UNDP supports Jamaica in strengthening coordinated response to emergencies like COVID 19 with digital platform

January 22, 2021

Homepage of the digital platform

  • Foreign Affairs Minister lauds timely and critical support

Jamaica, 21 January 2021 – Jamaica is innovating a digital emergency response mechanism to coordinate and track multiple demands for financial support, goods and services across government and inflows of international and local assistance, in the event of emergencies like COVID 19.

Called the  External Support Coordination Platformor the Emergency Response Coordination Platform (ERCP), the system aims to strengthen government’s capacity to jointly assess needs and shortfalls and to effectively allocate resources where needed when emergencies arise. The pilot platform gives enough information to support a more efficient and effective coordinated response and has the potential to address emergencies across multiple sectors as well as coordination, research and technology.

The digital platform is being developed by the Government of Jamaica with the support of the United Nations Development Programme Multi Country Office in Jamaica (UNDP) and is jointly managed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) in the current pilot phase. UNDP supported the government in developing the platform, populating the database and conducting training, under the oversight of a National Technical Working Group comprising key stakeholders.

In the current phase, UNDP’s support has transitioned to improving the platform based on initial feedback and assessments, contributing to a strengthened COVID-19 response while ensuring gender equality mainstreaming.  The platform features a modular design which will enable Government to expand the bundle of emergency response services provided and coordinated by Ministries Departments and Agencies as needs arise or evolve.   

Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in welcoming the platform noted that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for countries worldwide, including Small Island Developing States, which were already facing significant developmental challenges. “In Jamaica, it was important to ensure effective coordination across government to most readily communicate, channel and account for the immense outpouring of external support from international partners. The creation of the External Support Coordination Platform, with the support of the UNDP, will certainly allow Jamaica to better respond to this and future national emergencies in a more coordinated, efficient and accountable way”, she stated.

“UNDP is honoured to support Jamaica’s “Rebuild Jamaica” COVID-19 response strategy, in particular its goal of leveraging digital technologies to play a catalytic role in crisis management and the improved delivery of essential public service and information”, UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio stated. She said the pandemic has shown that the strategic deployment of digital technologies within governments is crucial in fostering responsiveness and effectiveness in coordination and service delivery and in ensuring countries are fully prepared to respond to crises while protecting their human development gains.

Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica said “the External Support Coordination Platform is an instrumental addition to the country’s infrastructure for response to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Government of Jamaica looks forward to the full functioning of the system to enable a more coordinated approach to the matching of support from our International Development Partners to needs identified in crisis situations. The Government is deeply grateful to the UNDP for this very timely and critical support”.

The UNDP-supported digital COVID-19 response strategy is aligned to Jamaica’s three-year Medium-Term Socio-economic Policy Framework (2018 – 2021) that calls for the strengthening of a technological-driven society as a priority.