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CDB provides funds for poverty reduction in 8 Caribbean countries

The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it is providing US$40 million in funding for poverty reduction in eight Caribbean through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

It said the resources will support improved access to quality education; water and sanitation; basic community access and drainage; livelihoods enhancement and human resource development services in low-income and vulnerable communities under the ninth phase of BNTF (BNTF 9).

The countries that will benefit from the initiative are Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.

“The participating countries share many common characteristics and face a number of challenges inherent to small, open economies. BNTF 9 will respond to the development needs of these countries, which face challenges associated with limited diversity in production and extreme vulnerability to natural hazards, which is  now exacerbated by climate change and other external shocks,” said Daniel Best, director of projects at the CDB.

Initiatives under BNTF 9 will be implemented during the period March 2017 to December 2020.

The CDB said that the governments of the eight participating countries will provide total counterpart funding of US$6.4 million.

BNTF has implemented more than 2,750 sub-projects over the past 37 years, directly impacting the lives of more than three million beneficiaries in poor communities,” the CDB said, adding that the programme is its main vehicle for tackling poverty in the region, through the provision of basic infrastructure and skills training towards improving the livelihoods of beneficiaries in participating countries.

Credit: Jamaica Observer

UTech launches graduate degree in sustainable energy and climate change

The University of Technology (UTECH), Jamaica through its Caribbean Sustainable Energy and Innovation Institute (CSEII) and the Faculty of The Built Environment (FOBE) will on Thursday launch the multidisciplinary Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change.

The degree was developed in collaboration with technical assistance from partner the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) through the CARICOM Renewable Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Programme (REETA) and is the first programme of its kind to be offered in the Caribbean region.

A release from the university disclosed that the establishment of the programme is in response to the need for tertiary level training of specialists in the areas of sustainable energy and climate change and has a strong focus on Sustainable Energy, Entrepreneurship and Green Business Development – areas critical to Jamaica’s future development within the global economy and for the creation of new jobs and innovations in keeping with the Green Growth strategy of the Government.

 Keynote speaker would be Professor  Thomas Bruckner, Head of Division, Sustainable Management and Infrastructure Economics, Fraunhofer Centre for Internal Management and Knowledge Economy IMW and Coordinating Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Germany, who will speak on “Decarbonising the world economy: Technical Options and Policy Instruments.”

Other speakers include Senator Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information , Dr Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology , Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Jamaica,  Dr Ruth Potopsingh, AVP, Sustainable Energy, UTech, Jamaica who will provide an overview of the Master’s programme, Dr Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM Secretariat, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the German Embassy in Jamaica and the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The launch is slated to take place at 9:00 am at Lecture Theatre 4 (LT4), Faculty of The Built Environment at the Papine campus.

The event will be followed by technical workshops from 11:30 am – 4:30 pm, while a Green Business Start-up Clinic will be held on Friday, March 3 from 8:45 am – 4:30 pm.

Credit: Jamaica Observer

Jamaican communities better able to address emergencies and climate change with Canadian support

Abacus for Communities and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) recently completed the projects in Jamaica which have helped communities across the island to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.

Jamaica’s largest environmental conservation area, Portland Bight, is now better equipped to deal with climate change with the completion of The Portland Bight Protected Area Disaster Risk Reduction Project. C-CAM, which is responsible for the area that is home to birds, iguanas, crocodiles, manatees, marine turtles, and fish, received over CAD$15,000 and made additional contributions of more than CAD$8,000 to plant mangroves and train community members and students on their care.

Under the Community Emergency Communications for Natural Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation in Jamaica project, implemented by Abacus for Communities, emergency telecommunications systems were provided to 10 communities across Jamaica and 321 individuals were trained in the use of the equipment. This equipment and training has enabled these communities to have emergency communications during hazard events, thereby allowing emergency agencies to be able to access the information needed to plan their response and recovery efforts. This project totaled over CAD$175,000, with CAD$80,661 coming from the Government of Canada.

The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. Sylvain Fabi, was delighted to be able to present both organizations with plaques to commemorate the successful implementation of these community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives.

Mr. Fabi commented during the presentation that “we have all seen the devastation that can be caused by natural disasters and climate change. With these projects, it is our hope, that Jamaica will be more resilient and prepared for future events.”

Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and an escalation in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes threaten homes and businesses across the Caribbean. This can result in loss of life and has a significant negative impact on sustainable economic growth. To be able to respond to the increased threat of natural disasters and climate change, communities must build their resilience. The Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund is a CAD $3 million fund designed to support Caribbean-based non-governmental organizations, community groups, and governmental agencies working at the community level.

For more details, contact the Public Affairs Section, Canadian High Commission, 3 West Kings House Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica  Telephone: (876) 733-3253

Salt River, Clarendon in the Portland Bight Protected Area. (My photo)

Salt River, Clarendon in the Portland Bight Protected Area. (My photo)

Credit: Petchary's Blog

Saint Lucia attends marine workshop

Saint Lucia attends marine workshop

Press Release – Leading marine experts from the Caribbean and the UK are joining up this week at a three-day workshop aiming to support the sustainable growth of marine economies in the region.

In the Caribbean region, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are set to benefit from the Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) programme workshop.

The marine workshop, hosted by the British High Commission in Kingston Jamaica, is being attended by senior-level representatives from governments, regional agencies, external science agencies, academia and key donors.

The initiative is part of the UK Government funded CME programme, and follows on from similar consultation events held in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

Discussions will focus on what and how shared expertise, collaboration and co-ordination with existing regional projects can best help achieve sustainable blue growth.

Key themes to be addressed will include the opportunities and challenges Caribbean states face in developing their marine economies, including strengthening food security; enabling blue economies, safeguarding the marine environment; and supporting marine resilience.

The CME Programme was announced by the United Kingdom Government at the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to provide technical support, services and expertise to Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Coastal States in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. The aim of this support is to promote safe and sustainable economic growth and alleviate poverty by harnessing maritime resources, preserving marine environments and facilitating trade.

David Fitton, UK High Commissioner, Jamaica said:

“The marine environment in the Caribbean is uniquely rich in biodiversity, economic potential and cultural importance.  With these opportunities, come immense challenges of poverty, environmental degradation and food security.   The UK seeks to increase prosperity by helping harness maritime resources and preserve the marine environment.

“This Programme plays an important part in this aim.  Through data collection, knowledge-sharing and training, we aim to enable the sustainable development of marine economies in this region and the wider Commonwealth.”

The Programme is being delivered on behalf of the UK Government by a partnership of world-leading UK government marine expertise: the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

A region-wide project, involving Caribbean and UK climate change experts, has been under way since last April.  The project aims to produce a Marine Climate Change Report Card – a regional evaluation of the impact of climate change on the marine environment.

Cefas project lead and workshop delegate, Paul Buckley said:

 “This the first time ever that experts in the Caribbean and the UK have worked together to co-ordinate existing knowledge on coastal and marine climate change impacts on Caribbean SIDS.   It is clear from our knowledge sharing, that the economic impacts of climate change pose a severe challenge to the low-lying SIDS of the Caribbean. This work aims to help inform national and collaborative decision-making to help mitigate and manage the risks of marine climate change in the region.”

Other projects in the Eastern Caribbean include Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries in St Lucia, hydrographic surveying in St Vincent and Grenada and Radar Technology Tide Gauges and Training in St Lucia and elsewhere in the Eastern Caribbean.

Credit: St. Lucia Times

CDB engages regional water and waste management specialists in Trinidad

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recently partnered with the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), to host the largest gathering of water and waste-management specialists from across the Caribbean at the CWWA 2016 Conference and Exhibition.

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“Clean water is one of the key pillars of human development and its importance cannot be overstated. The use and management of water impacts all of today’s leading global challenges, including: energy generation and usage; food security; natural disaster management; and the management of the environment. CDB therefore, has a vested interest in the well-being of the water and sanitation sector because it is key to us achieving our development mandate,” said L. O’Reilly Lewis, portfolio manager, CDB during the opening ceremony for the CWWA Conference.

The bank sponsored a high level forum (HLF) for water ministers in the Caribbean, which included presentations from CDB representatives, and also engaged with conference attendees at its booth in the exhibition hall.

The high level forum is a key mechanism for water-sector-related policy dialogue, bringing together government ministers and senior officials from across the Caribbean, as well as development partners and key stakeholders.

“CDB was instrumental in the establishment of HLF, playing an integral role in the planning and financing of the first forum in 2005 in Barbados… There is a commonality of challenges facing Caribbean countries and recognition of the fact that the sharing of experiences, expertise and knowledge — including best practices — is key in promoting more strategic approaches at the regional and national levels,” said Daniel Best, director of projects at the CDB.

Topics covered included economic drivers that must be considered in investments in the water and wastewater sector in the Caribbean, promoting the regional water agenda linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 6) and SAMOA in the context of climate change and disaster reduction and case studies, focusing on drought conditions in Jamaica and the impact of Tropical Storm Erika on the water sector in Dominica. CDB also participated in a panel discussion on how countries can access concessional funding, specifically through the Adaptation Fund, and the Green Climate Fund, which recently accredited the bank as a partner institution.

“This important policy dialogue on climate financing for the water sector is central to the bank’s strategy…This forum provides the bank with a timely opportunity to build awareness of its role as an accredited body to facilitate access to concessional financing from the Adaptation Fund, and the Green Climate Fund, for much needed water infrastructure investments in the Caribbean,” said Best.

The CWWA conference took place from October 25-27, in Trinidad and Tobago. This is the 25th year that the conference is being held.

Credit: Caribbean News Now!

Storm-struck St. Lucia’s PM says islands need more to tackle warming

Small Island [Developing] States (SIDS) need financial aid to assist in coping with extreme weather linked to climate change, St. Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said, as his Caribbean country recovers from flooding and landslides triggered by Hurricane Matthew.

Matthew hit St Lucia with tropical storm strength winds on Wednesday, and has since intensified to become the most powerful hurricane to cross the Caribbean in nine years, threatening Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba with 150 mile-per-hour (240 kph) winds.

It is hard to say whether a particular storm has been affected by climate change, but some scientists say warmer seas will lead to more intense hurricanes. Rising seas linked to warming are also expected to hit tropical island nations hard.

In Paris last December, nearly 200 countries agreed on a binding global compact to reduce greenhouse gases and keep global temperature increases to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

“We are paying a very heavy price down here, we are not net emitters, we do not have economies that are large enough to solve the problem ourselves and we are dependent on the world,” Chastanet told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

“Unfortunately we do not necessarily live in the most benevolent society.”

Chastanet said the Paris deal, which is closer to coming into effect after EU nations said they would fast-track ratification, was a “huge breakthrough” symbolically. However, he was not optimistic it would lead to financial help for countries most at risk.

“Countries are ratifying deals but they are not ratifying funds,” he said, calling the global climate deal a “contract of conscience.”

The prime minister said agriculture in St. Lucia, a volcanic island in the eastern Caribbean, had been badly hit by Matthew.

St. Lucia’s National Emergency Management Organization said interruptions to water supply after the storm were a serious concern.

St Lucia belongs to a group of 43 nations vulnerable to climate change that want the industrialized world to coordinate on financing to address climate change.

“We need to put a framework so we can take care of ourselves,” Chastanat said. “Hopefully at some point we would be able to get monies behind the global warming effect.”

Credit: Business Insider

Caribbean countries to benefit from new global climate fund

Baron Patricia Scotland (Photo: CMC)

Six Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are seeking assistance for funding of climate related projects from the recently launched Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub.

The agreement for the new Commonwealth initiative was signed by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and Prime Minister of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth.

The first countries to formally request assistance from the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Namibia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation said it “looked forward” to receiving support through the hub.

“The placement of a climate finance adviser in our ministry is a priority and a critical step in building our capacity and supporting efforts to improve access and use of available climate finance,” the ministry said in a statement.

The hub, which is being hosted by the Mauritius government, is intended to assist governments deal with the ravaging effects of climate change by accessing funding from a global fund target of $100 billion a year by 2020.

Endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government, the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, will place national climate finance advisers for two years at a time in recipient countries, who will help host ministries to identify and apply for funding streams.

The innovative approach will build on-the-ground capacity to access multilateral funds such as the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and Climate Investment Funds, as well as private sector finance.

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub is supported with a $1 million grant (AUS) by the Australian government and a £1 million grant (GBP) from the Commonwealth Secretariat, plus in-kind support from the Government of Mauritius.

Credit: Jamaica Observer

USD33 mn to Finance Climate Change Resilient Infrastructure in the Caribbean

Officials from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have signed an agreement to provide USD33,000,000 towards financing sustainable infrastructure projects in the Caribbean region. At least 50 percent of the funds will be used to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation projects.

The agreement was signed last month at the CDB Headquarters in Barbados, by French Ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Barbados, Eric de la Moussaye, in the presence of CDB Vice-President (Operations), Patricia McKenzie.

Patricia McKenzie, CDB Vice-President, Operations and Eric de la Moussaye, French Ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Barbados, sign the Credit Facility Agreement.

Patricia McKenzie, CDB Vice-President, Operations and Eric de la Moussaye, French Ambassador to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Barbados, sign the Credit Facility Agreement.

Caribbean countries are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with our geographical location leading to high exposure to natural hazards. Economic conditions also play a role, as there is a lack of access to long-term resources to finance sustainable climate-related infrastructure projects. We believe that these additional funds will go a long way towards building resilience and mitigating the impact of climate change in our region,” said Mrs. McKenzie.

The funds are being provided by AFD under a Credit Facility Agreement with CDB. AFD is the primary agency through which the Government of France provides funding for sustainable development projects. This marks the first time that CDB has accessed financing from AFD.

The Facility will be used by CDB to augment financing for infrastructure projects in several areas: renewable energy, water and sanitation, waste management, adaptation of infrastructure to the effects of climate change, protection of coasts and rivers. Countries that are eligible to benefit from this facility are: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. The Facility is also complemented by a EUR3,000,000 technical assistance grant, which will finance feasibility studies for projects eligible for financing under the credit facility.

The agreement supports the improvement of Caribbean economies’ resilience and vitality through the development of sustainable infrastructure projects with significant environmental or climate impacts. It is in alignment with the Bank’s corporate priority of promoting environmental sustainability.

Credit: CDB

US$ 7.2 Million to Boost Climate Change Resilience

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz (standing, left) and General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones (standing, right), observe as (from left) 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 sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project at Jamaica House, in St. Andrew, on July 28. Under the initiative, 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.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz (standing, left) and General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones (standing, right), observe as (from left) 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 sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project at Jamaica House, in St. Andrew, on July 28. Under the initiative, 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.

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

Urgent Action Needed to Reduce Effects of Climate Change

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
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