Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has said that an informed and responsive citizenry is critical to addressing issues related to climate change and the appropriate adaptive measures to be taken.
“It is knowledge, having accurate and relevant information, that will help us address the enormous challenges of climate change. I firmly believe that stakeholder participation is an integral part of good governance. Informed citizens can have a tremendous influence on the decision-making process and can support the dialogue for national development,” he stated.
Minister Pickersgill was speaking at on March 23 launch of a year-long communication and public education campaign to sensitise Jamaicans about climate change and its effects, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
He said the campaign, which is being undertaken under the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project, seeks to spread the word about the phenomenon, including providing the public with accurate and up-to-date information that can better able them to protect themselves, their homes, communities and the country.
Minister Pickersgill said through the campaign, which has the slogan: ‘Climate Change -We have to Change!’ “we intend to also hear from Jamaicans in all sectors –farmers and fishermen, business and political leaders, local government authorities and local development committees, young people, senior citizens, disabled persons, people living in vulnerable areas and others."
The Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project is working to help Jamaica address and adapt to climate change.
It is being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Environmental Management Division and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, through funding from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Government of Jamaica is providing technical and administrative expertise to support project implementation.
The communication and public education campaign is being undertaken under Result Area Three of the project, being implemented by the Environmental Management Division and the Meteorological Service, which supports provision of information and capacity building to help Jamaicans in various sectors adapt to climate change.
The campaign will engage Jamaicans from various sectors to share information on what to expect from climate change and on possible ways to change behaviours and practices to help the country to adapt and better cope with the challenges.
Campaign activities will include parish meetings, engagements with various sectors, creative competitions targeting students and the youth, and dissemination of public education material to build awareness about climate change and adaptation strategies.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter