JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) fifth Partnership Forum held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James last month, is being hailed as a success.
  • The forum brought together stakeholders from across the CIF community to learn and share lessons on building climate change resilience.
  • The forum was hosted by Jamaica in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and saw more than 500 delegates.

The Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) fifth Partnership Forum held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James last month, is being hailed as a success in bringing together stakeholders from across the CIF community to learn and share lessons on building climate change resilience.

The event, held from June 23 and 24, was being held for the first time in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The forum was hosted by Jamaica in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and saw more than 500 delegates including climate innovators, policymakers, entrepreneurs, financiers, social advocates and researchers, as well as journalists, participating in the event.

The primary aim of the forum was to provide solutions to manage climate change programmes, mobilize finance and build partnerships for low carbon, climate resilient developments within the region.

As a prelude to the forum, some 22 journalists representing media organizations from countries that have been disproportionately affected by climate change participated in an intensive training session.

According to Senior Communications Officer in the Administrative Unit of the CIF, Steven Shalita, the one-day session aimed to encourage journalists to focus on climate change and global warming issues, in an effort to capture the interest of the general public and in particular, the ordinary man on the street.

“The purpose of the media training is to equip journalists in the Latin America and Caribbean region with the requisite skills to report accurately and provide greater coverage on climate change issues.  It featured prominent experts in media and climate change, with the goal of leaving reporters with best practices to effectively cover and raise awareness of climate change issues in their affected home countries in the region”, he informed.

Some of the countries that were singled out for participation in the media training were Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Honduras and Mexico.

“The media country sites were selected largely based on two criteria: extreme vulnerability to the effects of climate change; and tremendous potential to report on climate change, to better inform the public of these issues and resources that may be available to them,” Mr. Shalita told JIS News.

He further informed that after the training, reporters were asked to file/broadcast stories about the conference in their home countries media outlets from the forum.

A participant in the media training, Kimone Thompson of the Jamaica Observer, told JIS News that the session was “information rich” and that the organizers were “very accommodating” in organizing interviews.

Another participating media practitioner, Sharon Earle from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), said that the training provided the opportunity for learning, sharing and networking … it did succeed in making us more au fait with climate change issues and has left us with more global perspective,” she stated.

Addressing the over 500 participants during the closing session of the forum on June 24, CIF Programme Manager, Patricia Bliss-Guest, said the event had achieved its goal in terms of learning, sharing, and networking.

She noted that climate change is an urgent problem that needs quick and decisive action.

“We know that it is imperative that we start to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions now if we are to stop things becoming unstoppable … nothing short of transformation is required and transformation is a long journey.  While on this journey, we must recognize the need for continuous engagement, vigilance and hard work to produce solid results and lasting change,” Mrs. Bliss-Guest observed.

Latin America and the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A large share of the region’s population depends on climate-sensitive economic activities, such as tourism and agriculture.

In Jamaica, the Government is taking the lead in facing the reality of climate change and partnering with the relevant bodies in organizing strategies to educate and empower citizens to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

Jamaica is also making strides to mainstream climate resilience into its development planning.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, in a statement, said that “the forum is an opportunity for the building of partnerships to generate investment and foster strong, programmatic action on climate change”.

State Minister in that Ministry, Hon. Ian Hayles, in addressing participants at one of the main sessions, told the delegates that their participation “underlines the partnership and solidarity, which must exist among all countries around the world, in tackling climate change”.

He noted that Jamaica has been at the forefront of the regional lobby in a various  international fora, and is a party to a number of agreements and treaties in the effort to get developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

“We, however, are not prepared to simply agitate and negotiate, we are taking concrete adaptation actions, with the assistance of organizations such as the CIF, to lessen the adverse impacts of climate change while at the same time pursuing a low carbon development path to the extent that it is convergent with our own development needs,” Mr. Hayles pointed out.

As one of six CIF implementing agencies, the IDB administers some US$686 million in grants and concessional loans for projects, to help Latin America and the Caribbean adapt to climate change threats and mitigate greenhouse emissions.

These resources finance investment programmes and knowledge and capacity building activities in areas such as renewable energy efficiency, sustainable forestry, low-emissions transport, and national and regional planning, as well as knowledge management and capacity building activities.