Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., has announced that a multisectoral task force will be established by his Ministry to support and advance the country’s development agenda and to ensure that climate change adaptation efforts are sustainable.
Speaking at the official naming ceremony for the Douglas Cover building at the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) Duke Street location in downtown Kingston on November 12, the Minister said the task force will pull on talent from all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as from the private sector.
“The true outcome for us as a country must be developing a climate-resilient society, climate-resilient housing and climate-resilient policies that truly advance the new Jamaica,” he argued.
The task force, he said, will also focus on ensuring that infrastructure developments are undertaken in a resilient way and that integrated actions are promoted across MDAs and the private sector.
He said further discussions on the formation of the task force will be held with the Permanent Secretary and other senior executives of the Ministry to determine and finalise the composition and structure.
“When you talk about no-build zones, when you talk about amending policies and legislation to make sure that we can withstand the climate shocks, this is the task force that is going to go into the ‘nitty gritty’, is going to pull on the skill sets that we have available across universities and institutions, not just in Jamaica but we will welcome our friends from the diaspora, as well, to have their contributions,” he said.
He further noted that the task force will key in on the specific variables that are going to ensure that Jamaica moves forward with the development that will make the country more climate resilient.
“That we no longer settle in areas that are going to put our own people in danger, that we find the policies and the programmes that are going to encourage people to be able to develop and build their homes, have access to financing, create tools and products that will allow them to be able to know not just to build but to build [using] particular methods,” he said.
The Minister noted, too, that financial institutions and developers are integral to the process of promoting climate resilience.
“I encourage institutions like VMBS and JN and other institutions that are giving persons access, to make sure at the forefront of their contemplation and the things they use to decide whether they approve or disapprove, they always keep climate resilience and the building of our adaptation and mitigation principles at the forefront,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.
The ceremony celebrated former VMBS General Manager, Douglas Cover and formally named the Victoria Mutual Chief Office and Duke Street Building in his honor.
It also coincided with Mr. Cover’s 90th birthday, which is celebrated on November 12. The naming ceremony is also one of the highlights of Members’ Month.