Global Crisis Brings Implications of Climate Change into Sharp Focus – JIEP President


President of the Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals (JIEP), Marcia Creary, has said that the global economic crisis has brought the implications of climate change into sharp focus, and the need to address the issue promptly.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the JIEP’s Fourth Conference on the Environment on May 26 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Miss Creary said that the event comes against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, “which is affecting us in all facets of our lives.”
“It (economic crisis) is probably a blessing in disguise as we are forced to re-evaluate our lives and our consumption patterns. We have been forced to evaluate the items that we purchase such as bottled water, the cars we drive, our use of electricity, the waste we generate, even the food we eat, because all these activities have an impact on our wallets. But ultimately, these activities have an impact on our environment as well,” she said.
She stated that the conference seeks to provide a forum to examine and discuss the issues of global climate change, the implications for the Caribbean, and the initiatives that have been undertaken globally, regionally and locally to address this issue.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Department, Marilyn Headley, in her remarks, said the conference’s theme “is as timely as it is relevant.”
The CEO noted further that the Forestry Department is “extremely mindful of the fact that climate change and forests are intrinsically linked.”
Miss Headley pointed to the importance of preserving forests, as a method of addressing the problem of climate change and the need to increase public awareness of the issue.
“Our people across the region have to be made aware and they have to be told constantly of the effects of the changes happening in the environment… The public should be fully informed about what effects climate change could have on our key industries such as tourism and agriculture, and the issues of health and personal safety,” Miss Headley contended.
Deputy Representative for the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) Akiko Fujii, noted that climate change hampers efforts to deliver the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring environmental sustainability.
“It is in this light that UNDP is pleased to be a sponsor for this conference, as the theme of climate change is a timely one and is relevant to our work as defined in our environment and energy programme,” Miss Fujii said.
The two-day conference, which concludes today (May 27), is being held under the theme: ‘Climate Change – Caribbean Response,’ and will see international, regional and local experts making presentations on various aspects of climate change and proposing solutions to this problem.
The conference will culminate with a public lecture by an internationally renowned climate change advocate, and former Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Anthony Hill.
Topics to be discussed include: Risk Management, Adaptation and Mitigation; Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation, Climate Change Research in the Caribbean, Community Ecosystems and Vulnerability; Global, Regional and Local Perspectives; Water, Agriculture and Forests; Policy and Communication; and Health and Tourism.
Among the sponsors are the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), University of the West Indies (UWI), UNDP, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The JIEP is an organisation for qualified persons working in the environmental field. It seeks to promote the application of professional standards, to provide a forum for discussion on environmental issues, and to facilitate the professional development of members.
Formed in 2000, the body has more than 120 members including natural scientists, engineers, consultants, social scientists, educators, and economists.

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