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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has welcomed the launch of the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) facility, which will provide critical support to small island developing states (SIDS) in building resilience to climate crises.

IRIS will support small island states to develop resilient, sustainable infrastructure that can withstand climate shocks, protecting lives and livelihoods.

“The initiative… rightly focuses attention on SIDS, as we are on the front line of this climate crisis. As we all know, a single disaster can derail the entire budget of a small island and set its economy back by years, reducing fiscal space to finance climate adaptation and resilience efforts. We, therefore, welcome this much-needed initiative that reflects our own thinking around the pivotal role played by infrastructure in building resilience,” Mr. Holness said.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was joined by United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in launching the initiative on Tuesday (November 2), during day two of the 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The global climate change conference is being held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mr. Holness, who was invited by Prime Minister Modi to address the launch, noted Jamaica’s commitment to strengthening its resilience-building efforts, which he noted will shortly be boosted by a US$1-million grant from the Government of India to support the construction of facilities for sustainable agriculture.

In addition, he noted that in collaboration with development partners and the private sector, Jamaica will become the first country in the world to develop a predictive climate-risk-assessment planning tool for major infrastructure investments.

Prime Minister Holness said, further, that Jamaica has conpetualised a pumped hydroelectric storage project, for which the country it is seeking support.

The project aims to utilise the island’s mountainous topography and abundant sunlight to solve the perennial problem of drought, while also generating hydroelectric power.

“This would make clean, sustainable use of Jamaica’s high concentration of freshwater resources in the north, to serve the large population centres and agricultural lands in the south,” the Prime Minister explained.

The COP 26 is being hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy.

The summit brings together world leaders for 12 days of talks to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 

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