- The meeting was the first in a series of island-wide meetings being held on the Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan Green Paper.
- The policy document outlines strategies to be implemented to effectively respond to the impacts and challenges associated with climate change.
- The results of these consultations are expected to assist in advancing the policy document to the White Paper stage.
Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has expressed satisfaction with the response to and outcome of last Friday’s (February 14) first climate change public consultation, hosted by the Ministry in St. Mary.
The meeting, held at the St. Mary Parish Church Hall, Port Maria, was the first in a series of island-wide meetings being held to solicit public opinion, comments, and recommendations on the Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan Green Paper, development of which the Ministry spearheaded.
The policy document, which was approved by Cabinet and the Houses of Parliament in late 2013, outlines strategies to be implemented to effectively respond to the impacts and challenges associated with climate change.
It is intended, primarily, to support the goals of the country’s National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica, by reducing the associated risks posed for sectors such as: water, energy, agriculture, fisheries, coastal and marine resources, health, mining, tourism, planning, and disaster risk reduction and response management.
Friday’s consultation was attended by a wide cross-section of residents and other stakeholders, including students, from St. Ann, St. Mary, and Portland, and featured presentations from representatives of various government departments and agencies.
During the interactive forum, attendees posed questions, and made proposals and recommendations on a wide range of climate change-related issues.
Speaking with journalists following the meeting, where copies of the policy document were distributed, Mr. Pickersgill said he was satisfied with the meeting’s outcome.
“I am very pleased with the attendance, the profile (of the participants) and above all, very pleased with the questions that emanated from the gathering. All told, on a scale of one to 10, I would (rate it at) eight,” the Minister said.
He said the objective of the consultations is to further heighten public awareness and education about climate change.
“The whole education about climate change is, somewhat, (lagging) behind, and as far as I am concerned, as Minister, my number one (priority is)…getting (information on) climate change out to the country,” he stated.
Further sessions are scheduled for: Tuesday, February 18, Santa Cruz Baptist Church, St. Elizabeth, at 9:30 a.m., for the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, and Manchester; Wednesday, February 19, Wexford Hotel, Montego Bay, 9:30 a.m., for St. James, Westmoreland, Hanover, and Trelawny; and Thursday, February 20, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, 5:30 p.m., for Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and St. Catherine.
The results of these consultations are expected to assist in advancing the policy document to the White Paper stage.
Meanwhile, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Lt. Colonel Oral Khan, advised that feedback submissions, outside of the consultations, are also invited on the policy, which he indicated has been in the public domain “for some time”.
“It is in parish libraries across Jamaica (and) it is available, electronically, on the website of our Ministry (among other places). The public is invited to make comments, and we ask you to try to get those comments in by the end of February. So you can log your comments to the website of the Ministry (at www.mwh.gov.jm), or you can jot them down and let us know, (and) we will advise you on a good channel to get them into the Ministry,” he advised.