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JIS News

Jamaica is one of three countries participating in a US$35.7 million project designed to strengthen resilience of urban areas through Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA).

The project entitled, ‘Building climate resilience of urban systems through EBA in Latin America and the Caribbean’ also includes Mexico and El Salvador. 

Funding in part for the project has been provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF); the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) San Salvador; and the Municipal Water and Sanitation Commission of Xalapa in Mexico.

Principal Director of the Climate Change Division in the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Una May Gordon, said the project in the Jamaican context will target the community of Greenwich Town in Kingston, as well as other areas.

“We will try to reduce the concrete footprint of many schools along that corridor. We will be planting some fruit trees (to) also spur some liveliness along there. We will also be doing some farming so communities will be engaged,” she said.

Ms. Gordon was speaking to JIS News at the inaugural staging of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Summit and Demo Day at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on November 2.

The countries selected under the project were chosen due to several socio-economic issues common to them.

They include the rapid and unplanned expansion of housing into areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters or unsuitable for settlement and the inadequate access to public services such as waste management, sanitation and refuse collection.

The EBA approach is a cost-effective way of reducing the vulnerability of urban and peri-urban communities to climate change by protecting, maintaining, and rehabilitating priority ecosystems in urban areas, to act as physical buffers against climate change related hazards while generating multiple social and environmental benefits.

Hosted by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), the full-day summit was held to discuss drivers and challenges for green tech innovation in the region.

The summit aimed to present current innovation and showcase some of those products that have been commercialized in the last two to four years that have had successful implementations.

Chairperson of the CCIC Management Committee, Lisa Harding, said since her agency’s inception in 2014, it has been at the forefront of building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters the development of growth oriented entrepreneurs and profitable businesses.

Ms. Harding pointed out that the CCIC has been focused on supporting female entrepreneurs in green tech business ventures, which is a space usually reserved for men.

“Just recently, CCIC successfully completed the Caribbean’s green tech start-up boot camp, the first in the region…the focus on women and youth is very significant… and speaks to the broader development challenges, which we in the region face,” she said.

 The CCIC has been supported by the Government of Canada and the World Bank as well as consortiums such as the Scientific Research Council (SRC) and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in Jamaica.

Other speakers at the summit include: SRC Executive Director, Dr. Cliff Riley; CARIRI representative, Eka Rudder-Fairman; Senior Development Officer at the Canadian High Commission, Walric Peddie; and Tasks Team Lead at the World Bank, Elaine Tinsley.

Special features of the summit included plenary sessions, green innovation exhibitions and a pitch competition involving seven green tech entrepreneurs from across the region.