Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says there is need for a strong regional mechanism geared towards facilitating co-operation and collaboration among Small Island Developing States (SIDS), especially on issues surrounding climate change.
Addressing the National Consultations on the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston on May 15, Minister Pickersgill said climate change is of particular concern to SIDS because of their vulnerability to its effects.
He stated the issue should remain on the agenda for the Rio+20 conference in June. “We need to ensure that this is reflected in the Rio + 20 outcome,” he stated.
According to Minister Pickersgill, climate change is considered to be the most pervasive and truly global of all issues affecting humanity and poses a serious threat to the environment as well as to economies and societies.
The phenomenon, he said, is a threat to sustainable development in CARICOM states, even though the contribution of the region to global greenhouse gas emission is negligible.
While pointing to the need for a mechanism at the national level to address sustainable development, he said the issue is addressed in Vision 2030 Jamaica: The National Development Plan, “and I will be in discussion with my colleagues responsible for economic and social matters as well as the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), to see how we can put in place institutional arrangements to facilitate coordination and implementation of the plan."
Jamaica is expected to take part in a sustainable development dialogue forum to be held at the Riocentro Convention Centre in Brazil from June 16 to 19.
The Rio+20 conference forum, organised by the Brazilian government with support from the UN, will allow for top representatives from civil society to engage in action-oriented debate on key topics related to sustainable development.
Among the major topics for discussion are: ‘A Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’ and ‘The Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development’.
The objectives of the conference are to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development; assess the progress to date, and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development; address new and emerging challenges; and help to define the sustainable development agenda for the coming decades.
It is known as Rio+20 because it marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio-92).
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter