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Several initiatives are being implemented by the Government to enable the country to adapt to or mitigate the effects of climate change.
Health and Environment Minister, Rudyard Spencer, speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 3), said that adaptation planning continues to be the main area of focus to address the impacts of climate change in Jamaica.
“Work started in 2007 on the preparation of Jamaica’s second National Communication on Climate Change, which is expected to be completed in 2009. This report will update the First National Communication and will set out the vulnerability and adaptation options in the water resources, coastal zone, human health, human settlement and agriculture sectors,” he explained.
Also, the implementation of a community-based adaptation project, under the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme began in 2007, with the aim of reducing vulnerability and enhancing the capacity of selected communities to adapt to climate change and variability.
“During the year, work started on the development of a Climate Change Communications Strategy by the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC), Panos Caribbean and the Government. A National Climate Change Committee is expected to be established in 2008 to effectively oversee and guide the process of integrating climate change considerations into national development,” Minister Spencer informed.
He noted further that the Ministry has continued its public awareness programmes to foster greater awareness of the environment, including climate change, noting that increasing the general awareness and public education of the importance of climate change to national development, will result in the implementation of more effective measures to reduce risk to those hazards that regularly affect the country.
Pointing out that 2007 had been an exceptional year globally and nationally for climate change activities, Mr. Spencer made note of Jamaica’s participation in the 13th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was held in Bali, Indonesia in December.
He outlined that at the conference, Jamaica reiterated the Government’s commitment to reducing significantly, the country’s dependency on the use of fossil fuels for energy production by 2017 and to increase the use of renewable energy sources to about 25 per cent of the energy mix; highlighted its programme to achieve developed country status by the year 2030 through inter alia, the development, diffusion and transfer of clean, less carbon intensive technologies, along with the building of institutional and human capacities.
Support was also articulated for a second commitment period that will see the Annex I Parties taking on ambitious and significant emission reduction limitation objectives and the country’s readiness to begin the discussions that will result in the establishment of a platform for negotiations.