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Jamaica advances work on climate change adaptation sector plans

Published:Wednesday | August 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor
Albert Daley

Jamaica has advanced work on its adaptation strategy and action plans for the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors, in line with efforts to prepare the island for climate-change impacts.

This is according to head of the Climate Change Division (CCD), Albert Daley, who said Tuesday that at least two of those plans - agriculture and fisheries - should be completed by the end of September.

"We are hoping to start some additional plans in October - plans that we have funding for and are expected to start preparing," he told The Gleaner.

Funding for the plans, which also address mitigation, he revealed, will come through the Inter-American Development Bank's Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Financing project.


Vulnerability assessments


The US$18.9-million project, Daley said, is to include vulnerability assessments for the Upper Rio Minho Watershed and financing options for targeted interests.

"There is a financing component to make [grant funding] available to non-government organisations and community-based organisations to implement climate-change adaptation initiatives across the country," the CCD boss noted.

"The other component of the financing has to do with loan financing through the Development Bank of Jamaica for farmers and people in tourism [with] small and micro enterprises."

Meanwhile, among the sector plans to come on stream are water, health, tourism, human settlement, and coastal resources.

"Having developed the plans, the next steps would be to develop initiatives for funding to implement elements of those plans that were highlighted as priorities," Daley explained.

"More generally what we want to do, in addition to implementing those priority actions and strategies, is to pull all the sector strategies and action plans together so we have national sector strategies and an action plan for climate change adaptation for Jamaica," he added.

That national document, once compiled, would be updated as needed.

"The intention would be for it to be a living document. I would anticipate that the document would look at the short term and long term and then be periodically updated based on what we would have accomplished, or any change in the information we have or the priorities that will arise, whether regionally or otherwise," Daley said.


Climate-change impact


Jamaica has in recent times been given a taste of likely climate-change impacts, including coastal erosion as well as rainfall variability and resulting drought conditions - all of which lend urgency to the national adaptation plan (NAP) process.

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.

Among the objectives of that process are to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience.

It also aims to 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.