Dr. Robinson Welcomes RiVAMP to Jamaica


Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon.
Dr. Ronald Robinson, has said that the integrated risk assessment methodology, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Methodology Development Project (RiVAMP), is critical to addressing issues of climate and environmental change in Jamaica.
Pointing to the assessment which will be undertaken in resort areas, he noted that it will provide relevant information on the extent of damage that could occur in the ecosystem.
“A project like this could provide the data to help us construct some kind of equation that an agency will be able to say to a developer, if you do this, this is the extent of damage to seaweeds, etcetera. And for the first time, we will have that type of tool to be able to assess development which is very far reaching,” Dr. Robinson said.
He also acknowledged that Jamaica was selected as the frist country for the RiVAMP pilot for several reasons, including its high vulnerability to tropical cyclones and sea level rise.
“We will get to use that tool before a lot of our neighbours, and it is very germane to Jamaica,” he pointed out.
Dr. Robinson was speaking at the final stakeholders consultation of RiVAMP, and the official launch of the project report at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston on Thursday (March 11).
He stated that the four areas of the RiVAMP project were “very critical”. They are: ecosystems and ecosystem services; environmental change, as a result of human activities and climate change; local livelihood and vulnerability; and environmental governance.
According to the assessment report, the four areas aim to establish a systemic understanding of human and ecological interactions, and to identify the driving causes of ecosystem degradation and the potential consequences to increasing hazard vulnerability and exposure.
Senator Robinson commended the relevant stakeholders in the project – the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Acting Director General, PIOJ, Dr. Pauline Knight, said that the programme’s objective to reduce vulnerability, was very attractive.
“Jamaica’s costal zones contain an estimated 75 per cent of the nation’s industries and service sectors and is responsible for generating approximately 90 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product,” she observed.
“It is of some importance that near shore economic systems, such as reefs, sea grass meadows and mangroves, provide some measure of protection to storm surge and related hazard,” she stated.
She also pointed out that the report has highlighted that corrective action should be taken now, if Jamaica is to protect its residents and save its natural assets, and that the choice of Negril as the pilot site was informed by a number of factors.
The project will create a risk and vulnerability assessment tool that can be utilised by national governments for the purpose of developing appropriate policy and legal instruments and formulating plans and programmes to build resistance to the adverse impacts of natural hazards.
RiVAMP was conceived to develop a methodology that takes into account environmental factors in analysing disaster risk and vulnerability. What is new about it is that it recognises ecosystems and climate change in the risk assessment process.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with limited territory and heavily populated coastal areas are likely to experience ecosystems decline, natural hazard-induced disasters and climate change impact. Jamaica was selected as the first country for a RiVAMP pilot for several reasons, including its vulnerability to tropical cyclones and sea level rise.

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