Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Earth Today | Jamaica eyes female empowerment in climate change planning

Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor/ Contributing editor

JAMAICA IS doing its bit to realise gender equality and the empowerment of women in climate change policy planning and action, beginning with the commissioning of a review and gender analysis of its existing climate change policy framework.

"We are finalising the paper which we commissioned last year with a view to bringing it in line with the decision of the COP 23 (the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Bonn, Germany, last year) on the Gender Action Plan," said UnaMay Gordon, principal director of the Climate Change Division (CCD) of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

The paper - the first draft of which was submitted to the CCD last year - is to inform Jamaica's country programme on gender and climate change, not only against the background of the international discussions on gender and climate change, but also with reference to sustainable development and poverty eradication.




At the global climate talks last year, countries agreed to the creation of a Gender Action Plan that is to enhance the role of women in climate change response action.

It was a victory for the proponents of years-long efforts to carve out a place for women - as it exists for men - as decision-makers at the international climate change negotiating table, as well as at the national and community levels where adaptation and mitigation actions, involving both men and women, are critical.

"It is about integration of gender into all the work around climate policy - both nationally and internationally," Nazhat Shameen Khan, chief negotiator for the COP 23 Presidency, said of the Gender Action Plan, according to the UN News Centre.

Among the priority areas of the Gender Action Plan are:

- capacity building, knowledge sharing and communication to enhance the understanding and expertise of stakeholders on the integration of gender considera-tions into climate change planning and action;

- coherence regarding gender-related mandates and activities;

- gender balance, participation and women's leadership;

- gender responsive implemen-tation and means of implemen-tation; and

- monitoring and reporting.

"Now having the decision of the COP, we will review the paper to see that it is in line and then we will publish it," Gordon told The Gleaner of the Jamaican review document, prepared by Judith Wedderburn and Joan Grant Cummings.

The CCD boss did not provide a date for its publication.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's climate change policy framework has as its general objective the creation of "a sustainable institutional mechanism to facilitate the development, coordination and implementation of policies, sectoral plans, programmes, strategies, policies and legislation to address the impacts of climate change".




Among the identified strategies in the policy are institutional arrangements to ensure coordination, integration, monitoring and knowledge sharing across 27 sectors and to avoid duplication of efforts. These include:

- the establishment of a Climate Change Department to "operate as a Division in the first phase, and Focal Points in critical sector";

- the establishment and operation of the National Climate Change Advisory Committee; and

- the establishment of the CCD.

This are together with the development of research, technology, training and knowledge management and regional and international engagement and participation, as well as the promotion of consultative processes "to improve public participation in mitigation and adaptation response measures".

At the same time, the policy tasks "the relevant ministries agencies" to take into account the five key principles in the development and implemen-tation of sectoral climate change adaptation and mitigation plans.

Those principles include:

- the sustainable use of natural resources;

- a multisectoral approach to climate change recognising that the impacts of climate change are cross-sectoral;

- public participation and collaboration; and

- the precautionary approach.

Transparency and accountability as well as best science are also principles that guide the policy.