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Earth Today | Jamaica gets approval for climate resilience work in Annotto Bay

Published:Wednesday | June 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Beach erosion, as is being experienced at Hellshire in St Catherine (pictured here), is one of the challenges presented by climate change and which the PIOJ is seeking to address in coastal communities such as Annotto Bay.

Jamaica has got a second shot at helping to build the climate resilience of coastal communities under component one of its Adaptation Fund project, dubbed 'Enhancing the Resilience of the Agricultural Sector and Coastal Areas to Protect Livelihoods and Improve Food Security'.

News of the Adaptation Fund Board's (AFB's) approval of the island's request for change of programme outcome, output and related indicators - submitted by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), serving as the national implementing entity (NIE) - came recently.

"To replace the aborted elements of the Government of Jamaica/AFP, the NIE and partners have now developed a revised programme which maintains the original emphasis; however, the new component one will focus on climate change adaptation through coastal resilience building in the northeastern section of the country," the PIOJ wrote in its submission to the AF Secretariat on February 8 this year.

Jamaica discontinued the original component one - which should have seen the construction of breakwaters in Negril - and related elements in component three, after failed attempts at mediation with hoteliers in the western resort town over the planned intervention. Hoteliers, at the time, were insistent on beach nourishment as their preferred option to treat with coastal erosion.

Now, following consultation, not only Annotto Bay in St Mary, but also Buff Bay and Orange Bay in Portland - all of them typically impacted by wave action during hurricanes and tropical storms - are to become beneficiaries under the project.

"Annotto Bay has been impacted by 35 flood events over the last 100 years. Almost all the infrastructure in this town is within the storm surge run-up distance," notes the revised project document.


Watershed rehabilitation


The project is, among other things, to do watershed rehabilitation through refores-tation for flood risk reduction and land husbandry improvement in watersheds surrounding Annotto Bay, as well as shoreline reclamation. There is, too, to be the installation of revetment for shoreline protection, as well as the installation of 300 metres of artificial reef. This is together with capacity building and training for improving land management and entrepreneurial skills in the communities.

"The activities identified for implementation are in line with the needs/requests of the target communities," notes the document.

Eleanor Jones, the private-sector representative on the project steering committee, in confirming that the approval had come, also welcomed it.

"I am very relieved and I am very happy ... We were one of the first countries to benefit (from the AF) and it was going to be like a model. Instead of that, we missed an opportunity. Fortunately, we were able to present another area for consideration and they have accepted it," said Jones, who is also head of the consultancy firm Environmental Solutions Limited.

"I am quite satisfied that the project is needed from a physical standpoint, and that the citizens recognise and accept that something needs to be done and are supportive of the project," she added.

Jones has participated in at least one of the public consultations for this new effort.