JIS News

Land and Environment Minister, Dean Peart has pointed to the need for Jamaica to fully prepare itself to access funding provided under the recently adopted Buenos Aires Five Year Programme of Work for climate change projects.
Minister Peart who was speaking at a briefing today in Kingston, to update members of the media on the results of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol held in Montreal, Canada, November 28 to December 9, said the programme of work which was adopted by the Conference was of particular importance to small island developing states like Jamaica.
He said the programme would help to address major concerns for adapting to climate change in particular, beach erosion due to climate change, and destruction of road infrastructure as a result of increased storm surges.
In this regard, Minister Peart informed that during the conference Jamaica held general bilateral meetings with delegations from the United Kingdom, Canada and representatives from the Global Environmental Facility and United States Congress representatives, aimed at obtaining support for adaptation projects such as the Palisadoes road and for the establishment of a proper Climate Change Unit in the Ministry.
Calling for a redoubling of efforts to exploit renewable sources of energy and arrest deforestation problems, the Minister said there was a need to fast track the on-going effort to revise the island’s building code in order to ensure that buildings and the general infrastructure could withstand more severe weather events.
President of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE), Hopeton Heron told the briefing that the island’s building code should be ready for delivery by the first quarter of 2006. He said a concerted effort was being made to push for the full adaptation of the code in 2006.
Currently, Jamaica does not have a mandatory up-to-date building code as the current building code is based on a 1902 London code. As such, the Bureau of Standards and the JIE recently undertook the adoption of the International Building Code (IBC) as a base document for which an appropriate application document will be developed. The application document will incorporate special construction practices peculiar to Jamaica.
The new code will require a new compliance system, as the compliance system in use by all parish councils is not compatible with the code. Furthermore, under the new code, design evaluation will now have to cover the architectural, structural, mechanical, fire, energy efficiency and electrical aspects of each building project.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Climate Change Conference closed with the adoption of more than 40 decisions that will strengthen global efforts to fight climate change.
Key decisions were made that outline the path to future international action on climate change. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the process for future commitments beyond 2012 got underway. A new working group was established to discuss future commitments for developed countries for the period after 2012 and will begin work in May 2006.
Under the Convention, a dialogue on strategic approaches for long-term global co-operative action to address climate change was also launched and a workshop series of workshops is planned to develop the broad range of actions needed to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.
One major success was the strengthening of the clean development mechanism. Under this unique mechanism, developed countries can invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries, helping the developing nations to improve the quality of life for their citizens, while allowing developed nations to earn emission allowances.
As such, developed countries committed themselves to fund the operation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) with over US$13 million in 2006/07.
In addition to this, the second Kyoto mechanism – Joint Implementation – was launched. Joint implementation allows developed countries to invest in other developed countries, in particular central and eastern European transition economies, and thereby earn carbon allowances which they can use to meet their emission reduction commitments.
A major breakthrough was the agreement on the compliance regime for the Kyoto Protocol. This decision is key to ensuring that the Parties to the Protocol have a clear accountability regime in meeting their emission reductions targets.
The conference also agreed on a one-year process to define how the five year Adaptation Work Fund will be managed and operated. This unique fund will draw on proceeds generated by the CDM and will support concrete adaptation activities in developing countries.
Already, an agreement has been signed between Jamaica and the Netherlands Government for the sale of carbon emission, to be accrued from the Wigton Windfarm in South Manchester. The sale will see the country realizing $200 million in profits over the next nine years.