JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of Urban and Regional Planning, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Marsha Henry-Martin, says that development planning in Jamaica must incorporate disaster mitigation measures and strategies to address climate change.
  • These considerations, she said, are imperative in light of the extent of informal settlements across the island, totaling approximately 700, which are home to a minimum of 15 per cent of the country’s population.
  • Mrs. Henry-Martin was addressing a climate change workshop at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, August 13.

Director of Urban and Regional Planning, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Marsha Henry-Martin, says that development planning in Jamaica must incorporate disaster mitigation measures and strategies to address climate change.

These considerations, she said, are imperative in light of the extent of informal settlements across the island, totaling approximately 700, which are home to a minimum of 15 per cent of the country’s population.

Mrs. Henry-Martin, who was addressing a climate change workshop at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, August 13, said that informal settlements have been described as Jamaica’s “single biggest social challenge” and the “cause of great social dysfunction”.

She said that inter-Ministry and inter-agency research show that “there are several natural hazards, which impact our settlements and (are) likely (to) impact our inner-city settlements and our squatter settlements, more often than they do settlements that are planned.”

“So…we must recognize that climate change, because of its multi-faceted nature…must (be incorporated)…within our planning framework, and in how we use land,” the Director argued.

She said that disaster mitigation must also be addressed “as Jamaica, like other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, seeks to improve living standards, and realize the stated goals of (the National Development Plan) Vision 2030.”

“The issue can only be resolved through processes guided by professionals with a passion for national development,” she contended.

The two-day workshop, organised by the  Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)/Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), formed part of preparations for the development of a Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Work Programme (CDM CWP) for Jamaica.

Nearly 30 representatives of government ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were in attendance.

It sought to heighten the participants’ awareness of climate change and its impacts; assist in identifying existing alternative adaptation options for disaster risk reduction nationally and sectorally; prioritize and sequence viable adaptation options into entry points and actions that build on the current comprehensive disaster management country work programme framework for disaster risk reduction; and integrate climate change considerations into a draft climate –smart CDM country work programme for Jamaica.

This forms part of efforts to strengthen the island’s ability to effectively respond to the impact of climate change and natural disasters, under phase two implementation of CDEMA’s $75.6 million (€512,000) Mainstreaming Climate Change into Disaster Management (CCDM II) Project, being funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

The project, which is being implemented locally by ODPEM, aims to strengthen CDEMA member countries’ resilience and response to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, through the institution of practical planning adaptation interventions measures at the national and community levels.

Skip to content