Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor
THE LONG-AWAITED Climate Change Division should be up and running by the end of next month, with the recruitment of key staff members now completed, Dr Conrad Douglas, chairman of Jamaica's Climate Change Advisory Committee, told The Gleaner recently.
"It [the establishment of the division] is going very well now. We have concluded the interviews for the three core people," he said of the division, which has been more than five years in the making.
That core staff includes a principal director and two senior technical officers - one of them with responsibility for adaptation and the other for mitigation.
"During the course of this month, the principal director should take up his job. It should have been the first [of the month], but it was a bit tight, because you have all sorts of [administrative issues, including] the services commission and things like that to deal with," Douglas said.
"The others are expected to be in place, at the latest, at the beginning of October," he added.
The division, Douglas said, will be operated out of the Half-Way Tree offices of the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change.
"The preparations are being made to accommodate them there," he noted.
Of their responsibilities, Douglas said: "It is enormous, but fundamentally, it is really to implement government policy in respect of climate change."
Specifically, he said their work will be informed by the Climate Change Policy that was expected to be submitted to Cabinet this week and later tabled before Parliament, even as they will be required to see to the implementation of a number of its components.
In addition, Douglas said the team at the division would also be required to "ensure the efficient coordination of climate change matters within the public sector and also with the NGO community as well as with the private sector".
"They are expected to ensure that every single ministry will work with the focal point in the ministry and they will develop sector plans for implementation," he added.
"One of the critical functions they will carry out is to set up a major climate-change database, which will be a source of information for all public- and private-sector agencies that will want the information to guide their planning," Douglas said further.