Minister says Empowering the Most Vulnerable to Cope with Climate Change is Critical

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Jamaica News: Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon Daryl Vaz, says there is still much to do in empowering the most vulnerable to adapt and cope with some of the intense and often devastating weather events associated with climate change.

He was speaking at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Workshop on National Communications and the Biennial Update Report (BUR) for Caribbean Countries, held at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on August 28.

Mr. Vaz argued that community-based disaster preparedness and response plans that take the physical, psychological, social and economic vulnerabilities of persons employed in the informal and agricultural sectors into account will help to reduce their vulnerability to disasters overall.

“The National Communications and Biennial Update Reports are an important part of this process, in that they highlight the activities that Parties have completed or are planning to complete in fulfilment of their obligations as Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” the Minister said.

He informed that last year, after Cabinet’s approval, he submitted Jamaica’s Third National Communication (TNC) to the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC at the 24th Conference of Parties in Katowice, Poland, last December.

Mr. Vaz further noted that two previous National Communications were submitted to the UNFCCC, in 2000 and 2011, as well as a BUR in 2016.

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“I am pleased to state that we were the first Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to submit a Biennial Update Report. The Third National Communication of Jamaica to the UNFCCC is a repository of useful climate change information,” the Minister pointed out.

“It includes the most up-to-date inventory of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from 2006 to 2012 as well as a profile of projected GHG emissions up to 2050. It also includes measures that have the potential to reduce a significant portion of these emissions,” he added.

Mr. Vaz said the Government has already commenced the process towards the preparation of the Fourth National Communication with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“In terms of Jamaica’s ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, the TNC document contains several assessments of our vulnerability and options for coping with these impacts in several sectors, including water resources, agriculture, human health, coastal resources and human settlement and tourism,” he said.

“This information is available for use by urban and rural planners, decision-makers, students, project developers, energy generators and a host of persons that rely on climate change information about the country,” he added.

Mr. Vaz emphasised that it is for these reasons that the workshop to inform the National Communications and Biennial Update Report process is so critical.

“As Small Island Developing States, it is up to us to lead the way and show our more developed neighbours that we will not sit idly in taking steps to mitigate the crisis our planet is facing due to climate change,” he said.

Source: JIS News

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