The United States Government created the Enterprise of the Americas Initiative (EAI) as an innovative mechanism through which the proceeds of debt forgiveness and debt reduction was channeled into the promotion and implementation of sustainable environmental and child survival and development programmes. In 1993, Jamaica became the first country in the Caribbean and Latin America to sign the EAI agreement. An essential component of the EAI agreement is that programmes be undertaken by non-governmental and community based organisations, and not by the state, with the intention of building a stronger civil society capacity for sustainable development.
The Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) was created as an independent special purpose foundation, and as the vehicle through which the sustainable development programmes would be developed and the funds managed. The EFJ is a membership organization with governance arrangements in the hands of civil society/NGO representatives and the two parties (the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the United States) which signed the original EAI agreement.
In 2012, the governments of Jamaica and the United States gave consent for the consolidation of the operations of the EFJ and the Forest Conservation Fund (FCF). The Forest Conservation Fund was established pursuant to the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) of 1998. The TFCA was enacted to offer eligible developing countries relief from identified official debt owed to the United States of America while at the same time generating funds to support local tropical forest conservation activities. The FCF promotes conservation and sustainable management and use of natural resources, including forests, for the benefit of local communities.
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