JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Engineers can provide the government with advice on the research, information and funding needs.
  • Engineers are central to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure networks.
  • Formal linkages between engineers, scientists and other key stakeholders would promote the sharing of up-to-date information.

The Government is seeking closer collaboration with the island’s engineers as it seeks to develop sound implementation strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill,said engineers have a key role to play in assisting the country to adapt to climate change and the Government would welcome the technical expertise that they provide in this area.

“Engineers can provide the government with advice on the research, information and funding needs that (it) requires to safeguard our infrastructure and communities that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” the Minister said.

He was addressing the opening of the Jamaica Institution of Engineer (JIE) three-day conference at the Knutsford Court hotel in Kingston on September 24.

The Minister noted that engineers are central to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure networks which support economic activity and protect human health and welfare, and with climate change, major changes to the layout and use of these networks will therefore be required.

“This will ensure sufficient resilience to cope with foreseeable climate change impacts including an evaluation of the physical vulnerability of civil infrastructure such as road networks, water and sewerage systems and the energy grid,” he said.

The Minister further noted that the creation of formal linkages between engineers, scientists and other key stakeholders which would promote the sharing of up-to-date information on best adaptive practices and regional climate datasets, could also provide input to government for setting research, legislative and expenditure priorities to support its climate change efforts.

“Regular and meaningful consultation between the engineering profession and the government on climate change policy is also required and I firmly believe that opportunities must be provided for professional engineers to acquire and upgrade their skills regarding new techniques and practices required to adapt to climate change,” he said.

Minister Pickersgill further challenged engineers to seize the opportunities climate change presents to develop new, innovative infrastructure systems and services.

“Adaptation to climate change provides opportunities in the new green economy. New opportunities in engineering design and manufacturing will come from the development of low carbon renewable energy technologies including hydro, wind and solar; as will the building of resilience into existing infrastructure and designing new systems that are robust and efficient,” he said.

Themed: ‘Engineers Embracing Change’, the event was held as part of activities to mark Engineers’ Week which is being observed from September 22 to 29. Topics being discussed during the conference include the national building code; energy utilisation technology; climate change adaptation; construction and innovative design; manufacturing and industrial engineering; and risk management and disaster reduction.