Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Earth Today | Report recommends actions to bolster climate readiness in transportation

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
UnaMay Gordon

AN ASSESSMENT of the financing needs for things such as routine road maintenance and capacity building in the responsible ministry are among the recommendations to boost the ability of the transportation sector to respond to climate change.

"Further assessment should be undertaken to understand the scope of financing needs by cataloguing the design lifetime of major infrastructure, for example, roads, bridges and ports, and costing out improved maintenance regimes for different types of infrastructure," said the report titled 'Vulnerability Assessment of Jamaica's Transport Sector'.

Dated December 2017, it was prepared by Chemonics International Inc for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in line with a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Jamaica and the United States in 2013.

"The Ministry of Transport and Mining does not currently have a unit dedicated to disaster risk reduction under its technical services or planning and research departments, despite the climate-related impacts on the sector. Nevertheless, several external agencies do have relevant expertise that could be brought to bear on the subject," the report said.

It suggested that the Climate Change Division (CCD) or other external consultants conduct training for the ministry staff, "particularly those involved developing policy, action plans and monitoring and evaluation plans".


Devising strategies


"Topics could include understanding climate change impacts on the transport sector, crafting policy to reduce impacts from climate-related risks; devising strategies and actions to increase the climate resilience of transport infrastructure and developing relevant indicators and targets to track performance over time," it added.

The report also suggested that the revised transport policy include climate change considerations, notably "climate data to be used in analysis, design criteria and risk screening requirements".

"Design standards for infrastructure and best practices for operations and maintenance informed by climate information and international best practice should also be included in the policy," it said.

CCD boss UnaMay Gordon is undaunted by what it will take to get the sector ready for climate change impacts, which include sea level rise and extreme hurricane events. She noted that already there is some progress.

"I think we are progressing. The emissions policy, for example, is almost complete and we should have consultations early in the next financial year. We are also moving ahead with the development of the revision of the transport policy and have commissioned as well the fuel use survey, and that is work that is ongoing," Gordon said.

"There is recognition of the sector's vulnerability; I don't think there is any convincing to be done there. I think one of the challenges is in order for us to develop the (adaptation and mitigation) sector policy, the vulnerability and assessment had to be completed first. We had to know what the vulnerabilities are and then the policy will come with an implementation plan ... So systematically, we are saying that the vulnerability and assessment that is done will inform all the other interventions," the CCD boss added.