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Several achievements under global fuel economy project

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Senior Director in the Environment and Risk Management Division of the Economic Growth and Job Creation Ministry, Gillian Guthrie, says several outcomes have emerged from Jamaica's implementation of the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) Project.

They include development of a National Auto Fuel Economy Database to examine vehicle fuel efficiency in Jamaica, an Air Quality Management Study and a GFEI website for Jamaica, which will be launched shortly.

“These are three big-ticket items, which have come out of the project to date, and we will be rolling out a programme of public awareness and education going forward. We are really hoping to achieve an improvement (in vehicle fuel efficiency) in Jamaica,” she said.

“We also want consumers to be aware (and make) informed decisions in terms of purchasing vehicle, and we also want to drive the improvement in fuel quality. This is all towards reducing air pollution (and) reducing our greenhouse gases emissions,” Guthrie added.

She was addressing a press conference following the opening of the Caribbean Sub-regional Conference on cleaner and more efficient fuel vehicles at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

The two-day conference brings together CARICOM countries to coalesce around ways to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs in the transport sector.

Funded by the European Union (EU), the Global Environment Facility and Environment Canada, the conference seeks to inform the creation of a road map, which will propose regulatory measures and policies to promote cleaner and more efficient vehicles for the Caribbean.

It will also build the capacity of countries, enabling them to improve air quality and greenhouse gas emission targets, as well as achieve energy savings and move towards sustainable mobility.

The GFEI Jamaica Project, which is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is being implemented by the University of Technology (UTECH) with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation providing oversight.

The overarching objective is to create an enabling environment that will support the development and implementation of cleaner and more efficient fuel and vehicle policies.

Associate Vice President of Sustainable Development at UTECH and Project Manager of the GFEI Project in Jamaica, Dr Ruth Potopsingh, said a national working group has been formed to engage stakeholders.

“We have been working with a number of government agencies... [such as] the Ministry of Transport and Mining, the Ministry with responsibility for energy and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation,” she said.

Meanwhile, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation at the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica, Walter Bernyck, said his country is committed to assisting the Caribbean to becoming a climate-smart region.

“Canada recently announced funding for three pivotal projects that will aid the Caribbean in building resilience. Last week in Washington, at the Conference for Climate Financing, Canada announced a project supported by the United Nations for $US58million, called the Climate Change Action for Gender Sensitive Resilience. This will improve climate resilience to vulnerable communities, especially women and girls in the region,” he said.

The project will also provide technical assistance to Caribbean ministries, departments and agencies responsible for climate change and disaster preparedness, develop gender responsive plans, among other things.

Other speakers at the opening ceremony of the conference included Head of the United Nations Environment Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, Vincent Sweeney; and Energy Programme Manager at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr Devon Gardner.

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