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The Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation of Jamaica is undertaking a public outreach entitled “Uncut Conversations on Climate Change: Dialogue for the Future” at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica from 11 to 13 April 2017. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been invited to participate in the event. Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, was the lead conversationalist on the opening day on the theme “Come on People, COP is the Conference of the Parties”. He explained the international climate change negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Executive Director of the CCCCC, Dr Kenrick Leslie, will participate on Day 2 of the event as the lead conversationalist for “What did Small Island Developing States Give Up or Gain by Signing and Ratifying the Paris Agreement”.
In his opening address, the Honourable Daryl Vaz announced that the Government of Jamaica had ratified the Paris Agreement. This was greeted with applause by the audience which consisted on students and representatives of the media, government agencies, the private sector and the NGO community. Among the subjects being covered in the Conversations are: the Paris Agreement, adaption, mitigation, capacity building, finance, and technology.
Minister Vaz urged everyone to become advocates for ‘Mother Earth’ and work hard to preserve and protect her for the next generation. He urged Jamaicans to take proactive steps such as practising proper disposal of garbage, carpooling to reduce the carbon footprint, and conserving and recycling water, as well as incorporating climate-smart agriculture, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“In all we do, we need to enable and empower the poorest and most vulnerable among us, including our women and children, to adapt to and cope with some of the intense and often devastating weather conditions associated with climate change,” he said.
The private sector and the NGO community also lead conversations. The event will culminate with the measures Jamaica is undertaking to respond to climate change.
The National Water Commission, Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency, Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism, Meteorological Services Division, Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Climate Change Division mounted exhibits at the event.
A total of US$7.2 million will be made available to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism and agricultural sectors, to finance climate change adaptation initiatives islandwide.
The money, which will be in the form of loans and grants, is being provided under the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project, a component of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in Jamaica.
The Project is a five-year initiative which aims to increase Jamaica’s resilience to climate change, through enhancing adaptive capacity across priority sectors.
This component of the PPCR is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The initiative was formalised during a signing ceremony at Jamaica House in St. Andrew, on July 28.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell; Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica, Milverton Reynolds; General Manager, JN Small Business Loans, Gillian Hyde; and Programme Manager, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), Allison Rangolan McFarlane.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the Government intends to increase its efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth.
“As a Government, we have pledged to protect the environment while creating jobs to drive the engine of economic growth, and we cannot allow climate change and other environmental impacts to impede us,” he said.
The Minister thanked all the partners involved in the initiative, noting that it represents an excellent opportunity to build on the work that has already begun in fostering sustainable development through partnership.
For her part, Ms. Hyde said the new loan facility will be open to qualified MSME beneficiaries who will be eligible for a loan amount between $200,000 and $5 million.
She pointed out that the loan will be available at a maximum interest rate of four per cent per annum.
For her part, Ms. Rangolan McFarlane said the money will be accessible to community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, other civil-society groups and selected public-sector agencies, for clearly defined high-priority activities.
She added that these should be related to building the resilience of the natural environment and contributing to livelihood protection and poverty reduction.
General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones, said the initiative is another in a series of partnerships to assist in the development of the country.
“We are looking to see how this pilot is going to work, so we can think about replicating this elsewhere in the region,” she said, adding that the initiative is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
The project involves a Climate Change Adaptation Line of Credit and a special Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
The Line of Credit will provide loan financing to help MSMEs in the tourism and agricultural sectors to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The loans will be administered by the JN Small Business Loans Limited. The sum of US$2.5 million is being provided for this.
The Adaptation Fund will provide grants to adaptation and disaster risk reduction projects and finance the associated programme management costs.
Grants will be provided using the successful EFJ grant-making model. The EFJ will be the Fund Administrator for the US$4.7 million being provided.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service
Jamaica’s Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has described climate change as a “real and present danger” that will persist, and “critical and urgent action” must be taken by nations globally to reduce its effects.
“We are now facing a future that almost certainly will be hotter, wetter and drier due to climate change. We will continue to experience increasing temperatures as well as more frequent and intense weather events, such as hurricanes, drought and floods,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at a forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on March 23 to mark World Meteorological Day, under the theme: ‘Hotter, Drier, Wetter – Face the Future’.
Mr. Vaz said the view expressed by some interests that climate change and environmental issues “only affect some of us, and is a problem for the distant future,” is a “misconception.”
“When temperatures soar to record levels, as they did during much of last year, it is not a few who feel the heat, but all of us. When drought ravages our crops and there are outbreaks of bush fires, we all pay higher prices at the market,” he noted.
Additionally, Mr. Vaz said when floods, resulting from hurricanes or intense rainfall, damage roads and other infrastructure, “the country stands the cost of rebuilding.”
“There is little wonder, therefore, that more Ministries within the Caribbean region are including climate change within their portfolio responsibilities,” he noted.
In this regard, Mr. Vaz commended the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ) for being at the forefront of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
“Your members have been very vocal on the international scene in championing the cause of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like Jamaica, which are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change…which highlights our true inter-dependence,” he said.
The forum was jointly staged by the Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) Project and the MSJ.
It featured a panel discussion on the theme: ‘Hotter, Wetter, Drier – The Jamaican Context’, with climate change presentations by representatives of state agencies and academia, as well as an exhibition.
Ja REEACH is a four-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and jointly implemented with the Government of Jamaica.
It aims to safeguard agricultural and natural resource-based livelihoods, in order to improve institutional capacity to successfully adapt, mitigate and manage the effects of climate change.
World Meteorological Day is observed globally each year to promote sustainable development and to tackle climate change through the provision of the best available science and operational services for weather, climate, hydrology, oceans and the environment.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service