Mauritius/Japan Talks Successful – Minister Peart


Minister of Land and Environment, Dean Peart has reported success following Jamaica’s participation in nine days of talks in the island of Mauritius, and Japan last month.
Minister Peart said Jamaica’s participation in the international meeting, held in Mauritius to review the Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was part of the country’s efforts to make sustainable development a reality, both as part of the global community and at the local level.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s Half-Way Tree offices in Kingston this morning (February 2), Mr. Peart who headed a delegation, said Jamaica’s commitment to sustainable development and implementation during the past years was demonstrated in the number of initiatives undertaken despite limited resources. Evidence of this commitment, he noted, was shown in the establishment of local and national institutions, legislation, enacted regulations and partnerships formed with civil society.
Jamaica derived several benefits from participating in the meeting, with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) giving its approval to the programme of Action for Land Based Sources of Pollution. The Food and Security Programme for Caribbean SIDS was also highlighted as a major source of funding for Jamaica’s agricultural and small irrigation programmes. Furthermore, Jamaica has also been invited to apply through the UNEP Shelf Programme for the funding of a feasibility study on the expansion of Jamaica’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Mr. Peart said the Ministry would be pursuing the openings to ensure that all the benefits were received. The Ministry will be hosting a series of community dialogues on the Mauritius meeting, to ensure that Jamaicans at all levels understand and connect with its sustainability programmes.
At this morning’s press conference, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of National Reconstruction, Danville Walker was presented with a cheque of US$25,000, which was donated by the government of Mauritius to support post hurricane Ivan relief efforts.
The meeting was used to renew political commitment to sustainable development from all countries as well as to focus on practical and pragmatic actions to further the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action (BPOA).
In a further effort to recognize the unique challenges of small islands and to support their sustainable development, the Mauritius Strategy and the Mauritius Declaration were adopted.
Major issues addressed in the Mauritius Strategy include the difficulties faced by SIDS in integrating into the global economy, the need for increased energy efficiency and cleaner fossil fuel technologies as vital for sustainable development. Climate change was also a major concern.
Minister Peart said the adverse effects of climate change and the havoc wreaked on the islands during the 2004 hurricane season clearly indicated that there was a need for urgent action in dealing with the impact of climate change.
Meanwhile the Kobe, Japan World Conference on Disaster Reduction sought to increase the profile of disaster risk reduction in development planning and practice. The Land and Environment Minister said the conference provided an opportunity to promote a strategic approach at the national level to address vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of natural hazards.
Minister Peart informed that countries had pledged their support to create a regional tsunami early warning system in the Indian Ocean. An international early warning system programme was also launched to improve resilience to all types of natural hazards.
Explaining, he said the initiative emphasized the importance of people-centred early warning systems and community education about disaster preparedness.
Additionally, an international flood initiative was also launched to better prepare communities living in areas affected by this type of natural hazard. A framework for action calling on states to put disaster risk at the centre of political agendas and national policies was also adopted by delegations.
The ‘Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015’ will strengthen the capacity of disaster-prone countries to address risk and invest heavily in disaster preparedness.
The conference also adopted a declaration recognizing the relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The documents are to serve as a ‘blue print” to guide nations and individuals to build disaster-resilient communities.
Meanwhile several bilateral meetings were held in Japan, which generated specific potential benefits for Jamaica. The World Meteorological Organization was approached to provide funding for research for a National Meteorological Act and support for policy and legislation for floodwater control.
Additionally the United Nations University Institution for Environment and Security has indicated an interest in assisting with the establishment of community based early warning systems. Minister Peart informed that the Ministry would be coordinating with the Ministry of Water and Housing and the Planning Institute of Jamaica to follow up on the action plan arising from the Conference.
The global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS was held in Barbados in 1994. At this conference, countries including Jamaica agreed to the BPOA to address the special challenges faced by SIDS in implementing sustainable development. Priority areas include climate and disaster issues, the management of waste, land, water and energy resources, the natural environment, science and technology, tourism, transport and communication and human resource development, among others.

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