JIS News

The issue of how well Jamaica will adapt to climate change is being vigorously pursued by the Government, its agencies, and partners, said Senior Director with responsibility for Environment in the Office of the Prime Minister, Leonie Barnaby.
Speaking at a recent Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals (JIEP) public lecture and panel discussion at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston under the theme: ‘Solutions to the climate change crisis – What can we do?’, Ms. Barnaby said that several activities are being pursued, which are expected to assist in positioning Jamaica’s mitigation efforts against the impact of climate change.
Among these is a community adaptation to climate change pilot project, for which Jamaica is being considered, which will focus on “actual responses at the community level,” Ms. Barnaby said.
“The whole matter of planning is key to our dealing with adapting…looking at (the) use of the building code, where we position our buildings, what our buildings are made of… We are having projects, which demonstrate energy efficiency technology, which we hope will be replicable in a very quick way. There is going to be quite a focus on adaptation…for example, looking at our vulnerable coastal resources, our wetlands, sea grasses, etc. The private sector has also been encouraged to support clean technology,” she outlined.
The Senior Director said that within the context of local government reform, a sustainable development framework has been developed in at least one parish, which is “keenly aware of climate change and other such influences on our development.”
Environmental stewardship within public sector agencies is also being pursued, she said. “For some time, we have had a programme for the Government sector to really take on resource conservation, to look at productivity, to generally operate in an environmentally sound manner. That included such things as fleet management, and indoor air quality. Soon, we will see that programme going into effect in earnest. I think it will make a difference,” Ms. Barnaby stated.
She disclosed further that the Meteorological Service, which serves as the “focal point” within Jamaica’s climate change undertakings, has developed a draft action plan.
She noted that the matter of climate change is also incorporated in the country’s Vision 2030 plan. “Vision 2030 has a section on climate change. In fact, it looks at climate change in the context of disaster mitigation, which is one of the areas that goes with climate change,” she stated.
Ms. Barnaby stressed, however, the importance of heightening public awareness on the issue, which she contended must be sustained.
“At the end of the day, we need the buy-in. The whole awareness activities will surely have to include the parliamentary level, the executive level, and also local government, for us all to take into account what climate change means, and what we ought to be doing about it,” the Senior Director added.
Climate change refers to long-term changes in regional or global weather patterns reflecting abnormal climatic variations.