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Climate change officials look in on Portland Bight

Published:Wednesday | May 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Portland Bight, in southern Jamaica, was designated a Wetland of International Importance in 2006.
Frigate birds fly about in Portland Bight, southern Jamaica.

Senior officers from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre met in Jamaica with counterparts from the German Development Bank (KfW) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for discussions on the regional Coastal Protective Climate Change Adaptation (CPCCA) project being implemented in four Caribbean States.

Rural Xpress caught up with the group as they toured the Portland Bight area of Clarendon recently.

Dr Jens Mackensen from KfW, on his first trip to the island, expressed satisfaction regarding the climate-change adaptation project development in the Portland Bight protected area, which was approved for funding. The project is expected to reduce the vulnerability of six coastal communities to the effects of climate change.

"This is the second project I am visiting and I have to say this one is quite impressive. There is a lot of local commitment and a lot of different steps being taken to build something big; I like that," he said.


Project discussions


CCAM Executive Director Ingrid Parchment said the team met to offer technical support, as well as to discuss how the project is going and to examine challenges.

"What are the best practices? How it is that we want to ensure that the project can be finished within the allotted timeline and that the impact of the activities is going to be visible," she said, outlining some of the questions to be answered following the tour which saw them visiting Welcome Beach, Portland Cottage as well as the Portland Bight Discovery Centre, which will also be benefitting from the funding.

Parchment said that in spite of the challenges, her team will be pushing to generate community awareness on the issue.

"The truth of the matter is, there are always going be persons who are not necessarily changing their behaviour, but the important aspects of what we are doing is going to be community awareness and how they are going to adapt to climate change," she said.

The project is expected to be completed in September 2018.