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Speaker, I begin by again congratulating the Prime Minister, Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in being a visionary in establishing this Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change. The inter-linkages between the portfolios and indeed, across portfolio Ministries such as Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Transport, Works and Housing and Agriculture and Fisheries, to name a few, are no doubt inseparable.

Mr Speaker I say this for several reasons. It is beyond question that the impact of climate change on our water resources will be severe if we do not increase our resilience to climate change impacts. If we continue to practice inappropriate land use,we will destroy our watersheds and forests, which will compromise our goal of maintaining a sustainable environment. The proper functioning of ecosystems will experience catastrophic changes if the relationship between economic development and environmental sustainability is not properly managed.

Mr Speaker, the conflict between development and a sustainable environment is undeniable. Consequently it requires a balancing act, steered by a steadfast focus and dedication to the achievement of our Vision 2030 goal of ensuring that ‘Jamaica has a healthy natural environment’.

“Partnering in Governance for Sustainable Development” has to be our new compass. It will require dialogue and partnerships at all levels.

It will mean conducting our core business more efficiently and effectively, especially in these challenging economic times. It will mean exploring creative ways to pursue our economic development goals, while minimizing the risks to our environment and natural resources and in the process, promoting awareness and involving communities in each step we take along the path towards sustainable development.

As the Ministry’s Vision Statement articulates,we aim to make Jamaica “In 2020, among the top three countries in the Caribbean and Latin America in environmental stewardship, access to potable water, equitable broad-based land ownership and climate change resilience”.

Mr Speaker, I have a constitutional responsibility to report to the country on my stewardship. I pause, Mr Speaker, to commend the Minister of State who has done a commendable job in his presentation on the Rural Water and drought aspects of the Water Portfolio, as well as the Land Portfolio to this Honourable House on June 18th.My presentation will concentrate on Climate Change, the Environment,Planning and Sustainable Development and entities under the Water Portfolio,not previously covered by my Minister of State…READ MORE

Download Contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate by Minister, the Hon. Robert Pickersgill