Jamaica to strengthen climate change focal point network
JAMAICA'S CLIMATE Change Division (CCD) is working on strengthening coordination and overall efficiency within the island's focal point network, tasked to ensure climate change considerations are included in the planning and operations of each ministry, department and agency of government.
A first step is a lunch meeting to be held this Friday to share on the state of play with international climate change deliberations, post the entering into force of the historic Paris Agreement Jamaica's ratification of which became official on May 10.
"We will also have a discussion about how we prepare for a pre-COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), what type of pre-COP event we would want to have this year (ahead of the international talks to be held in Bonn), and the mini-COP we have planned for schools with the Ministry of Education," revealed Una May Gordon, principal director for the CCD.
This meeting follows on a recent stocktaking of how the focal point representatives currently do their work and the way in which they use their knowledge of climate change.
The next step will be to secure a dedicated officer to handle coordination of the network, which currently has some 27 representatives from across the public sector.
"We are hoping that the consultant should be on board in June," Gordon told The Gleaner, adding that funding for that person has come through the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (JCCCP).
The Jamaica component of the JCCCP was launched in June last year by the United Nations Development Programme and is designed to "bring together policymakers, experts and representatives of communities to encourage policy innovation for climate technology incubation and diffusion".
The island is set to receive US$1.8 million of the US$15 million earmarked for eight Caribbean islands to help with climate change adaptation and mitigation.
In addition to coordination of the focal point network with a focus on sectors such as forestry, water and energy, for which adaptation and mitigation plans are being or will be developed Gordon said the consultant will also support the climate change board and its activities.
Attention is also being paid to the composition of the network.
"We are re-examining the focal points to see if we have the right people in place and to ensure we get more depth and adequate coverage across all the portfolios," Gordon noted.
"I think we can add a few more (representatives) because some ministries have changed. There is (for example) the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, so we need two there. Another is the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport," she added.
The CCD, meanwhile, has managed to add to its own team over recent months. There is now a mitigation officer Omar Alcock who takes over from Gerald Lindo, who left last year.
There is also a climate finance adviser whose services have been provided through support from the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as a public awareness and behaviour change officer, appointed through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience.
"I am quite satisfied with my little team," said a smiling Gordon.