Revision of climate change policy scheme nears completion
Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor
JAMAICA'S CLIMATE Change Framework Policy and Action Plan could receive parliamentary approval early this new financial year, following a series of public consultations to inform amendments to the document.
"We have gone through the consultation stage. It is now at the Green Paper stage. The feedback received is now being included in the draft policy document with a view to having approval from Cabinet and Parliament early in this financial year. We are moving towards it becoming a White Paper," said technical director in the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change, Albert Daley.
The series of consultations - held in February in St Mary, St Elizabeth, St James, and Kingston - attracted the participation of hundreds.
"Generally, people have not raised much difficulty with the policy itself [though] there is refinement here and there. For example, the objective of the policy, they thought, could be refined," he told The Gleaner.
"They [also] thought that what we called the 'flagship projects', we could add additional ones. But we have not come across any major concerns when we asked people to look at the policy itself," he added.
Objectives of policy
The 57-page policy framework has as its objectives:
To mainstream climate change considerations into sectoral and financial planning and build the capacity of sectors to develop and implement their own climate change adaptation and mitigation plans;
To support the institutions responsible for research and data collection at the national level on climate change impacts to Jamaica to improve decision-making and prioritisation of sectoral action planning; and
To improve communication of climate change impacts so that decision-makers and the general public will be better informed.
"It is expected that, on the basis of this policy framework, the relevant sectors will develop or update, as appropriate, plans addressing climate change adaptation and/or mitigation. Actions related to the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, based on the medium-term socio-economic framework, are outlined and recommendations from stakeholder consultations are included for consideration in the development of plans," reads the document.
The thinking behind the policy - which is guided by the principles of sustainable use of natural resources, a multi-sectoral approach to climate change, public participation and collaboration, the precautionary approach, transparency and accountability and best science - was reinforced by Daley.
"Some folks have said they were looking for a more detailed policy document, but really, the focus is a policy framework. It sets out the framework for how things should get done ... . The policy speaks to moving to the next phase of climate change adaptation and mitigation action plan for the key sectors. These sectors will have a detailed mitigation-adaptation plan that would guide operation in these sectors," he said.
"The policy also speaks to the establishment of focal points in various ministries. These are liaison persons in each department or government agency and they will be the link between the Climate Change Division and the various initiatives in each ministry of each sector of the development of adaptation plans for the sector," Daley added.
He noted that it is envisaged that collaboration among stakeholders will help to ensure "that all the policies formulated in the ministries are looked at critically to ensure that they take account of all climate change concerns".