The government of Japan on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, handed over its climate change programme to the government of Jamaica. The hand over took place at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, at a knowledge forum held by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), small islands are highly vulnerable to climatic and non-climatic stressors, with sea-level rise and temperature rise among the most insidious threats for coastal flooding and erosion, ecosystem degradation and loss of livelihoods.
Understanding this, three years ago, the people of Japan and their government launched a project called Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership, aimed at assisting countries to better adapt and mitigate through developing legislation and application of low emission, climate-resilient technologies.
Through the United Nations Development Program, Jamaica was selected as one of the eight participating countries. The United Nations Development Program in Jamaica was then handed the task of managing and coordinating the project, with Japan providing financial support.
A national steering committee was created with representatives of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job creation; climate change division; Planning Institute of Jamaica; Ministry of Industries Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries; Rural Agricultural Development Authority; Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Social Development Commission. The project giving focus to two main parishes; St. Ann and Clarendon.
Speaking with Jamaica Today, Ms Una May Gordon, Climate Change Division’s Principal Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, explained the reason for focusing on those parishes. She said “as we build out the climate agenda across Jamaica, we looked at where the greatest need would be. For water, which is one of the focal points of the project Clarendon was selected.”
Ms Gordon further stated “understanding what is happening with water in Clarendon, we have these catchments that were underutilized and so, resources were targeted. Also, we looked at where our partner the 4H Clubs have done interventions, we did not want to overpopulate a parish.”
Ms Gordon told us that the project funded by the people of Japan, reached 70 institutions, giving a number of citizen’s access to water.
Jamaica has successfully developed and completed the beginning of mitigating adapting to climate change with just over two million US spent on Jamaica.
‘Time for Jamaica to take full control’ was the message during the handing over forum on Wednesday, as the Ambassador of Japan in Jamaica, His Excellency Mr Hiromassa Yamazaki commended all the partnering ministries, agencies and communities for their active participation in making the project a reality. Commendations were also given to Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz for his “support and willingness” to readily meet with Japan officials on climate change and other matters.
Ambassador Yamazaki stressed on the importance of maintaining, expanding and sustaining the project and noted that he hopes to have more partnerships with Jamaica.
Minister Vaz was the keynote speaker and in his address thanked Ambassador Yamazaki and the people of Japan for their generosity and financial support. Vaz, also noted that the project is in line with the government’s plan for prosperity. He also implored Jamaicans to get active and support the cause because climate change affects all.
The event was attended by delegates from Japan, members of the United Nations, Jamaican government officials, educators, and students.