Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor
THE PLANNING Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is, by year end, to complete design work on the investment projects for the Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR), following a more than five-month delay.
Hopeton Peterson, PIOJ's manager for sustainable development and focal point for the SPCR programme, made the revelation in an interview with The Gleaner on Tuesday.
Peterson said the design work is being done for the three investment projects under the programme, and is scheduled for delivery to the sub-committee of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in the first quarter of next year.
The PPCR structure affords countries access to the resources from the Climate Investment Funds.
The first investment project looks at improving climate data and information management for the island.
"This particular component aims to strengthen the meteorological data collection and observation system. The idea is to improve these systems so that we can enhance the monitoring of variables. If we improve the systems that we have there in terms of instruments, we are in a better position to monitor climate variables and do weather forecasting. It will actually improve our early warning system," Peterson said.
Another feature of this investment project, which has a budget of US$6.8 million, is the development of downscaled climate scenarios.
"What it effectively means is that we use scenarios to make projections for future climate, so, for example, we will be able to say, based on these scenarios, in 2020, Jamaica's climate will look like this. What we normally use are global models; this component of the project will allow for models more specific to Jamaica," Peterson explained.
climate change adaptation
The second project seeks to mainstream climate change adaptation in local sectoral national plans and see to the implementation of adaptation strategies in targeted river basins.
This second project has a budget of US$11.3 million - US$7.7 million of which has been made available through grant funding and the other portion in loans.
The third project - budgeted for US$6.4 million - looks at financing mechanisms for sustained adaptation initiatives by the public and private sectors and community-based organisations.
"The idea is to use the US$6.4 million to establish a grant component and a loan component so that small and medium-size enterprises will have an opportunity to borrow some of these funds at very low rates of interest while the community-based component will be a grant component," Peterson explained.
But even before they completed the design and implementation of the projects, they have realised some achievements.
"For example, the Meteorological Service has already received 20 automatic weather stations that have been purchased and installed, so they will act as a complement to the network that they already have," Peterson said. "These are automatic as opposed to manual and will relay the information in real time, which will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Met Service."
They have also managed to complete a number of technical reports that will help to inform next steps under the programme.
They include the 2012 State of Jamaica Climate Information for Resilience Building Report; the 2012 State of Jamaica Climate Information for Resilience Building: Summary for Policymakers; the Climate Change: Knowledge Attitude and Behavioural Practices Survey; and Communication for Climate Change 2012-2017: A National Strategy and Action Plan.
According to Peterson, there is no question of the value of the programme, given climate threats, which include more severe weather events and warmer temperatures that could undermine critical industries such as agriculture and tourism.
"The challenges that we face with climate change are enormous, and we need as many interventions as we can to address the risks that we face. We need as much resources as we can to build our resilience to climate change," he said.
"This is but a small drop in the bucket of what is required, but still we have to be appreciative of it because it is helping us to tackle this problem and to flesh out strategies that, if successful, we can tailor to have a wider impact on the country. Any initiative that can help us improve our resilience to climate change should be welcomed, and this is one of them," he added.