Private sector targets 2016 climate talks
To take better strategic advantage of climate finance opportunities while continuing the courtship of local business interests, Jamaica is looking to have private sector representation on its team to Marrakesh in November.
"In this COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), we would want even one private sector representative - and probably, more specifically, from the financial sector - accompanying the delegation," said head of the Climate Change Division.
"I am going to shamelessly and aggressively pursue that to see if it will happen," she added.
According to Gordon, who recently assumed leadership of the division, it is critical to have the private sector fully sold on and involved in Jamaica's climate change response efforts.
"When we have a weather event, then people suffer, but the private sector's bottom line is [also] impacted severely. So we want the private sector to have a higher profile in this round," Gordon noted.
Among the climate change impacts facing Jamaica and other small-island developing states of the Caribbean are extreme weather events, including hurricanes and droughts.
Both types of events have seriously affected the performance of the Jamaican economy in the past.
For example, data compiled by the Planning Institute of Jamaica on nine hurricanes impacting the island between 2001 and 2010 put the estimated cost at more than $111 billion.
The infrastructure sector is said to have accounted for $51.7 billion of that sum, while the transport sector, including roads and bridges, accounted for $44.4 billion.
Climate threats to Jamaica extend beyond extreme weather events to rising sea levels and the associated negative impact on coastal livelihoods. They also include warmer global temperatures and the negative health implications that flow from that, including an increase in diseases such as dengue.