JIS News

Story Highlights

  • United Nations Climate Change Conferences assess the progress in dealing with the issue.
  • Climate change is a complex problem, which has consequences for all spheres of existence on the planet.
  • The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, was a turning point in climate change negotiations.

The Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, hosted a national consultation on Thursday, October 31, to prepare Jamaica for the 19th Conference of Parties, at the Alhambra Inn, in Kingston.

The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are held annually and they serve as the formal meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to assess the progress in dealing with the issue.

The nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) will be held from November 11-22, 2013, in Warsaw, Poland.

Addressing the consultation, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Alwin Hales, said that climate change is a complex problem, which has consequences for all spheres of existence on the planet.

“It either impacts on, or is impacted by global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management,” Dr. Hales said.

He noted that the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2011, was a turning point in climate change negotiations, with governments recognising the need to draw up the blueprint for a fresh universal, legal agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020, where all countries would play their part to the best of their ability, in order to reap success.

Dr. Hales said that governments committed in Durban to a comprehensive plan that would come closer, over time, to delivering the objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous interference with the climate system, and at the same time will preserve the right to sustainable development.

“The challenge, then and now, is to push climate action forward as rapidly as possible, both inside and outside the climate change negotiations,” he explained.

Dr. Hales argued that a looming gap remains between current national and international actions and intentions to reduce emissions as well as the actual level required to keep average global temperatures rising no more than two degrees above their pre-industrial level, above which science shows that there is a much higher risk of very serious climate impacts.

“Moreover, even if the two-degree scenario is met, developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, will still need much more support to adapt to the change that is already embedded in the global climate system,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Dr. Hales welcomed the consultation,  noting that it will “foster the exchange of ideas that will enable us to strengthen our negotiating position and leverage the kind of actions we need from the developed countries on issues, such as Climate Financing and others, that are so crucial to developing countries and in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like Jamaica.”

Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Dr. Arun Kashyap, said the consultation is an opportunity to share knowledge and experience, so as to negotiate and influence the decisions on important issues, such as climate financing, adaptation mechanisms and significant emission reductions.