Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has given the assurance that the proposed Climate Change Department will be fully implemented by the end of the year.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 24) during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate, Mr. Pickersgill said the department will help to drive coordination and management of Jamaica’s climate change efforts.
He informed that a draft report for the establishment of the entity has been completed and submitted, with the assistance of two international consultants from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In the meantime, Mr. Pickersgill noted that the Ministry has implemented a number of initiatives and projects geared towards adaptation to climate variability and change.
Among these are the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project, which is funded by the European Union and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
"This project has gained significant ground in fulfilling its objectives to strengthen Jamaica’s adaptive capacity and contribute to sustainable development,” he informed.
Under the project, the government has commenced rehabilitation and improvement works on the Hope and White River/Rio Bueno watersheds. "Of the proposed 300 hectares, we have already rehabilitated 240 hectares,” he informed.
Additionally, he noted that the Ministry is working towards increasing the resilience of the country’s coastal eco-systems to climate change impacts through a number of activities.
To this end, Ministry representatives have replanted 5.04 hectares of mangrove in Portland Cottage and will be replanting 1.98 hectares at Refuge Cay (Kingston Harbour) starting in August.
Also in August, the government will be restoring areas of seagrass in Long Bay, Negril as well as officially installing artificial reefs in Old Harbour Bay and Negril. “All this is in an effort to develop our coastal resilience,” Mr. Pickersgill stated.