Jamaica leads the way towards sustainable, green COVID-19 recovery

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Jamaica leads the way towards sustainable, green COVID-19 recovery

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Jamaica, through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MoFPS) is becoming a leader in the global conversation to ensure that climate change is at the forefront of the economic recovery after COVID-19.

The country announced its formal membership to the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action a year ago, which currently includes 52 finance ministries worldwide.

In a recently published report, “Ministries of Finance and Nationally Determined Contributions – Stepping Up for Climate Action,” the MoFPS articulated the role of ministries of finance to engage in the preparation, update and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The report was produced by the MoFPS in collaboration with the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, NDC Partnership and the World Bank.

Case studies in the report show that finance ministries are contributing to the costing, macroeconomic and macro-fiscal assessments, and the mainstreaming of efforts to reduce national carbon emissions. The report also shows that countries have used multiple entry points and are building on existing capacities to gradually bring climate to the core of economic and financial decisions. To achieve faster progress, public finance systems and economic policy tools, including macro-modelling and fiscal planning, should be improved to better capture climate targets and integrate them in the designing of long-term financial strategies, in tandem with the work under NDCs.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke noted, “Jamaica, like many other countries, is grappling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shaping recovery plans in line with sustainable development goals and Nationally Determined Contributions, not only makes sense for us but it is also critical to ensure we build back better.”

The report comes shortly after Jamaica achieved a major climate action milestone on July 1, by being the first Caribbean nation to submit a tougher climate plan to the United Nations. The international community, inclusive of the UNDP in Jamaica; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and the leadership of the last two climate change conferences have welcomed Jamaica's commitment to an updated NDC, which adds forestry and land use and toughens goals for renewable energy and emissions reduction.

Jamaica's participation in the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action has been critical in strengthening the coordination between the MoFPS and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), which is responsible for the climate agenda. The participation also provides the platform for valuable knowledge exchange with other countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. “We are proud of our coordination efforts as we seek to deepen the conversation on the need for stronger climate action within the corridors of the Ministry of Finance. An ambitious climate plan cannot be implemented without finance,” said Una May Gordon, principal director of the Climate Change Division of the MEGJC.

The coalition began its work in April 2019 by establishing the Helsinki Principles with the objective of mainstreaming climate in the work of finance ministries. In December 2019, the coalition released the Santiago Action Plan to define concrete actions in all fields of Helsinki Principles.

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