Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Jamaica gets US$6.8 million to fight climate change

Published:Saturday | October 3, 2015 | 10:00 AMChristopher Serju
Dr Peter Phillips (left) minister of finance and planning, exchanges documents with Galina Sotirova, World Bank country manager for Jamaica after they signed a grant agreement at the finance ministry in Kingston yesterday.

Jamaica has received grant funding of US$6.8 million to be used for improving the quality and use of climate-related information, which will inform effective development planning and action at the local and national levels in order to reduce the impact of natural disasters.

Successful implementation of the project should result in Jamaicans benefiting from better warnings about hydro-meteorological hazards and more accessible, timely, and quality-assured climate information and services.

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips and Galina Sotirova, the World Bank's country manager for Jamaica, signed the agreement yesterday at the finance ministry in Kingston on behalf of the Jamaican Government and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), respectively.

Phillips used the occasion to underscore the anticipated far-reaching impact of the project.

"Specific technical assistance will be provided under this grant for climate-resilience planning and for public information dissemination and awareness building on the part of appropriate agencies of the Government of Jamaica. And, of course, there is provision for project preparation and project-management capabilities in the Government of Jamaica," he explained. "This will be of tremendous benefit to our farmers, planners, residents in flood-prone areas; people in industries like tourism; our security services; our health facilities, etc. It will be of tremendous benefit to the whole country."

Sotirova described the project as the first building block to putting Jamaica firmly on the path to significantly improving its overall climate-resilience development strategy.

informed decision

"The project will help to establish the basis on which Jamaica can better integrate climate change into decision-making processes at both the national and local levels.

"At the national level, making more informed decisions based on better climate data will strengthen the resilience of Jamaica's infrastructure and the economy as a whole. At the local level, it will help improve livelihoods and reduce poverty by directly enabling vulnerable populations to utilise improved climate and weather information in the planning of their activities; in the way they build their houses; and in the way they improve their crops, etc," the senior World Bank executive said.

Rachel Allen, senior programme coordinator for the US$1.2 billion pilot programme for climate resilience told The Gleaner that with climate change hitting poor people first and worst, those who are the most affected are those who have done the least to cause it. For this reason, she said, helping the most vulnerable countries and communities is both a challenge and an imperative for the international community, especially because climate adaptation and resilience require significant resources beyond what is already needed to achieve international development objectives.