Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says protecting key economic sectors from climate change, through budget allocations and development planning, is no longer an option for governments.
“The cost of financing adaptation change at the national, regional and international levels is often high. Nevertheless, we know that cost delaying actions to address climate change are greater. Addressing these costs will require a country-driven, yet collaborative approach with international development partners,” the Minister said.
Mr. Pickersgill was delivering the main address at the opening of a four-day Regional Workshop on ‘Mainstreaming Climate Change into National Development Planning and Budgeting’, on April 23, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, in Montego Bay, St. James. The event is sponsored by the European Union (EU).
The Minister pointed out that Jamaica has a long history of tackling climate change at the national, regional and international levels, and actively participates in international negotiations.
“The discussion on ensuring that the elements of the national budget and development plans are adequately aligned with our climate change concerns is still gaining momentum,” Mr. Pickersgill told the workshop participants, comprising Regional Officers dealing with climate change in their respective countries and organisations.
Mr. Pickersgill cited the action by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, to establish a Climate Change Ministry, as far-reaching. “We have also moved towards finalising our climate change policy and action plan, and have appointed a National Change Advisory Board. It is our avowed intention that by the end of the year or before, we would have established a Climate Change Department,” he noted.
The Minister commended the EU for its support to promote climate change adaptation, which will help the region to look ahead without despair, “and will propel ambitious and environmentally credible outcomes sufficient to safeguard our collective livelihoods and future, and to underscore the fact that there is no separation of budget from Climate Change if we are to undertake responsible, sustainable development that is so urgently needed."
The event is part of ongoing work to synchronise current scientific evidence on Climate Change and its drivers. Documents at the workshop lay out clearly where the science is well established, where there is wide consensus, but continuing debate, and where there remains substantial uncertainty.
Participants at the workshop were presented with copies of the Fourth Assessment Report of Working Group 1 of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2007, which is the most comprehensive source of Climate Change science.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter