Jamaica ratifies Paris Agreement

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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The Government of Jamaica yesterday announced that it has ratified the Paris Agreement — the global groundwork for combatting climate change and to intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable, low-carbon future.

The agreement was struck in Paris in 2015, and came into force in November 2016, 30 days after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — accounting in total for an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions — deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the depositary.

Jamaica deposited its instruments of accession in April and promised to move to ratification by the end of financial year 2016.

Making the announcement yesterday at the start of a three-day climate change symposium at Terra Nova All-Suites Hotel, minister with responsibility for the land, environment, climate change and investment portfolios Daryl Vaz declared "commitment made, committment kept".

He read a copy of the ratification document, which was dated March 30, 2017 and signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith.

"I am very pleased to say that we have met the deadline... and are now in implementation mode," Vaz said.

The document read: "Whereas the Paris Agreement entered into force on the fourth day of November 2016 in accordnace with Article 21 of the Agreement; and Whereas a State may express its consent to be bound by this Agreement by the deposit of an instrument of ratification with the Secretary General of the United Nations in accordance with Article 26 of the Agreement; and Whereas the Government of Jamaica has considered and undertaken to faithfully carry out the provisions of the Agreement, I Kamina Johnson Smith now therefore do hereby ratify the Paris Agreement".

The aim of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with the intention to further limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

After yesterday’s announcement, Acting Resident Representative at the United Nations Development Programme Elsie Laurence Chounoune issued a statement in which she commended Jamaica on taking what she described as a leap of faith.

"This significant milestone in Jamaica’s climate change mitigation and adaptation journey signals its commitment to the ambitious goals and targets established in the Agreement. Climate and disaster resilience is one of UNDP’s key pillars through which it seeks to fulfil its principal mission of ending poverty in all forms everywhere by improving people’s lives and protecting the planet. As a country impacted by climate change, Jamaica is challenged by rising sea levels, eroding coastlines, rising temperatures and more frequent and severe weather events, which impacts its ability to sustain resilience and reduce poverty.

"The ratification of the Paris Agreement should provide a sustainable framework for promulgating enduring policy, legislative and programmatic action to mitigate these and other impacts of Climate Change in Jamaica.

"UNDP stands ready to support Jamaica on its quest to adhere to the provisions of the Paris Agreement through assistance in mobilising financial and technical resources including policy advice, strategic planning, capacity development and knowledge management.

— Kimone Thompson




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