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National Spatial Plan draft to be completed December

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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A draft of the National Spatial Plan (NSP), which will outline the governance framework for the optimal and effective use and management of Jamaica's natural resources, is to be completed by December 2019.

This was disclosed by minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, who said the drafting of this modern national physical plan under phase two of the NSP project will update the 1978 National Physical Plan which has been in existence for over 30 years.

“The plan will…provide the strategic spatial framework to guide national development and investment decision-making,” he said, while addressing the opening of the NSP Technical Symposium and launch of phase two of the NSP's development at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.

Vaz noted that the Plan will identify priorities for the spatial planning and development of human settlements, commercial and industrial developments, and improvement of infrastructure for public utilities and social amenities.

“It will support long-term development that promotes more sustainable land use patterns. The NSP will guide spatial planning and development at the national level and at the local level by guiding the preparation of local development plans and development orders,” he informed.

Vaz said the NSP, which will greatly improve the development application and review process, will also address the major challenges of disaster risk reduction and climate change response, while protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of the built environment.

“As a Government, we are committed to making development sustainable, as we adapt as best as we can to climate change and protect the environment while creating jobs to drive the engine of economic growth in Jamaica. The NSP: 2020-2040 will be an important tool towards this achievement,” he said.

Importantly, under this second phase of the NSP project, a National Spatial Planning Information Technology (NSPIT) Platform is to be developed and will be used for the dissemination of planning information to guide spatial development at the national, regional and local levels.

“The NSPIT Platform will be accessible to the general public and aims to, ultimately, provide all the spatial planning database and information to support online application and processing of development applications. All the ministries, agencies and departments involved in the development processes will, therefore, benefit from a state-of-the-art and dynamic information technology (IT)-supported spatial plan,” he said.

Minister Vaz commended the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (AP&FM-PPCR) for conceptualising and using this “sustainable, IT-based and climate-smart approach to developing the NSP”.

The AP&FM-PPCR is a US$19.8 million five-year project which focuses on climate adaptation at the national, sectoral and community levels.

It underpins the development and alignment of the National Spatial Plan with the National Development Plan — Vision 2030 Jamaica.

The AP&FM-PPCR also provided the funds to cover the technical aspects of the plan and allocated additional funds to prepare the NSP.

The development of the NSPIT is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented under the National Competitiveness Project by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

Minister Vaz also thanked the Climate Investment Fund, and international donor partner, the Inter-American Development Bank for accommodating the NSP's preparation.

Meanwhile, acting chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Gillian Guthrie, informed that initial work on the NSP draft is to be done over the next two days during the Technical Symposium, following which, public consultations will be held on the plan islandwide.

“There will be particular focus on the engagement of civil society and the municipalities during the consultative process. After the plan is prepared, it will be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation for the necessary approvals to be sought,” she said.

— JIS


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