Jamaica News: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government remains resolute in its drive to make Jamaica climate resilient, so that the gains made in achieving growth are not eroded.
“We cannot, and must not allow the effects of climate change to derail all that we are working for – sustainable growth and development,” the Minister said.
He was speaking at the national consultation in preparation for the 24th session of the Conference of Parties (Pre-COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters on Wednesday (November 21).
Mr. Vaz pointed out that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Jamaica stand to lose the most in terms of the impact of climate change on lives and livelihoods, which is why the Government is committed to developing relevant policies and programmes to mitigate this.
He cited the Administration’s impending ban on plastics, which, he said, will reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste from the environment and lessen marine pollution that leads to degradation and exacerbates the pile-up of post-disaster waste.
“This is at least one concrete step the Government has taken to address the added burden that will be brought on by climate change,” he said.
Citing data from the Socio Economic and Environmental Disaster Assessment Handbook for Jamaica, Mr. Vaz noted that over the past 25 to 30 years, Jamaica has experienced an increase in the frequency of natural events, primarily floods related to inclement weather, tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes and droughts.
According to the handbook, between 2001 and 2010, Jamaica had been impacted by 10 disaster events, resulting in a cost to the country estimated at approximately $111.81 billion.
“The significant dent that response and recovery (to natural disasters) makes on the gross domestic product (GDP) speaks volumes to the urgent action needed in order to change this cycle and create a more resilient Jamaica,” Mr. Vaz said.
In the meantime, Minister Vaz welcomed the Special Report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which highlights the impact of an increase of the average earth’s surface temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius above industrial levels.
He noted that the Special Report is a critical document, as its findings “describe a present that will become more challenging over time and also a future which requires a change in our thinking and approach to sustainable development”.
According to the report, the rate of global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
The Special Report was released globally by the IPCC on Monday, October 8, 2018. Jamaica and other Caribbean SIDS played a pivotal role in the request for, preparation, completion and approval of the report. Its importance is being recognised across the Caribbean by a series of national and regional events, including the Pre-COP 24 consultation in Jamaica.
The findings of the report were shared and discussed during the national consultation, which also served to gather feedback on the main issues that will be decided at COP24 in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and transparency.
Minister Vaz will again lead a delegation to the conference, which will be held in Katowice, Poland, in December. Jamaica has participated in COP since the first session was convened in 1995.
The national consultation was organised by the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the national Focal Point to the UNFCC.
Source: JIS News