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Work on adaptation, mitigation strategy could begin by year end

Published:Friday | September 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

JAMAICA COULD by year end begin work on adaptation and mitigation strategy and action plans for the waste management, finance and transportation sectors in its ongoing efforts to bolster readiness for climate change impacts.

Head of the Climate Change Division (CCD) Albert Daley told The Gleaner last week that the division had developed and submitted the required proposals to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with whom a memorandum of understanding had been signed for the provision of needed support.

The hope, he said, is that work on those plans will begin in a matter of weeks, as well as on "the mainstreaming of climate change considerations in the transport and energy sectoral policies, and the sectoral plans for the energy and forestry sectors" - following processing and sign off by United States Agency for International Development.

The development of those plans form a part of a larger national adaptation plan (NAP) for the country, which currently has as its focus some sectors of highest priority. Those sectors include water, human health, agriculture, coastal and human settlement, and tourism.

Speaking at the June launch of the Panos Caribbean regional hub for climate change information in Montego Bay, Daley said actions identified for 2012-2015, pursuant to the NAP, include:

Development of priority project proposals for climate change adaptation;

Improving mechanisms for the financing of climate change; and

Improving public access to information on climate change while developing a targeted approach to reaching the most vulnerable on their role in climate change adaptation.

A NAP process was established by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at its 17th session, according to the technical guidelines published in December 2012.

The objectives of the process are to:

Reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience; and

Facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation in a coherent manner relevant to new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular the development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels as appropriate.

Earlier this month, there was a NAP Expo held in Bonn, Germany, under the theme 'Catalysing action and support for the NAP process'. The expo attracted the participation of representatives from more than 74 countries, who gathered to share experiences and ideas for strengthening the process.

Early start

Coincidentally, Jamaica has been working on a national adaptation plan before it was given that label, putting the island ahead of others in the developing world.

Jamaica has to date begun work on a national climate change policy framework and is advanced in its institutional arrangements to support successful implementation.

In addition to the CCD, there is a Climate Change Focal Point Network that includes some 27 ministries, divisions and agencies of government; and partnerships with national, regional and international organisations, including the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

Meanwhile, Daley said they are looking to undertake additional sectoral adaptation and mitigation plans.

"The start of the development of the sectoral adaptation and mitigation plans for the agricultural and fisheries sectors are somewhat delayed, they should, however, start during the last quarter of 2014," he said.

"The adaptation and mitigation plans for the water, tourism, health and human settlements and coastal resources sectors will commence during the second quarter of 2015," the CCD boss added.

Funds available

Funding sources, he noted, have been identified for those plans. Those sources include the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, the Global Climate Change Alliance and the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change project.

Jamaica, like others in developing and least-developed world, is facing tough climate impacts, some of which are already being felt.

They include extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts, warmer temperatures and the associated increase in disease such as dengue, in addition to sea level and sea surface-temperature increases.

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