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Jamaica has received a grant of $850 million (US$10 million) from the Adaptation Fund Board for the establishment of a Climate Change Adaptation Programme.

The programme will seek to introduce measures to protect livelihoods and food security in communities that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

This was disclosed by Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 24), under the theme: ‘Partnership for sustainable development’.

The project will also focus on improving land and water management for the agriculture sector; strengthen coastal protection; and build institutional and local capacities for climate change adaptation in the parishes of Westmoreland, Manchester, Clarendon, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, and St. Thomas.

The Adaptation Fund finances concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol and are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Over the past two years, the fund has dedicated more than US$165 million to increase climate resilience in 25 countries around the world.

Minister Pickersgill told the House that one of the primary objectives of the government is to sensitise Jamaicans about the effects of climate change.

To this end, the Ministry has launched a public awareness campaign to enlighten Jamaicans about the many projects and initiatives of the government, in addition to their responsibilities in protecting the environment.

"To date, we have covered four parishes, and have engaged the entertainment fraternity, creating climate change songs as well as skits and plays which have been used to engage society," Mr. Pickersgill informed.

In addition, he said, the Ministry has hosted a number of climate change awareness workshops in Portland Bight and Long Bay, Negril.

The government has also actively participated in climate change conferences overseas, even as recently as RIO +20, as well as negotiations in Johannesburg and Copenhagen. The country will also be present at the next Conference of Parties in Qatar.

Minister Pickersgill said that these meetings have helped in “positioning Jamaica to benefit from recent developments as well as to access to funding and initiatives in international fora."