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Vaz calls for innovation in financing climate resilience projects at G7 summit

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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NOVA SCOTIA, Canada — Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for the Environment, Daryl Vaz, has urged the international community to support the CARICOM SIDS in their drive to recapitalise the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).

Vaz was addressing the G7 Environment Ministers' meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada yesterday in the session “Adaptation & Conserving Nature”, representing SIDS.

He highlighted the urgency of concrete global action on climate change; the dire risk of devastation faced by Jamaica and its neighbours in the Caribbean; the need for innovation in the access to financing for climate resilience projects; and also the need for the reclassification of countries to reduce any restrictions to accessing development funds.

According to a release from his ministry, he reminded the summit of the almost total devastation faced by some nations in the Caribbean as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

“I should note here that Jamaica is ranked as one of the most at-risk countries in the world, with 56 per cent of the island's economic assets and 70 per cent of the population located along coastal areas,” the minister was quoted as saying.

“There have been 14 hurricanes and 12 tropical storms in the last decade which have affected life and livelihoods in coastal and inland areas in Jamaica. According to a World Bank study 'Sea Level Rise and Storm Surges', the impact of sea level rise and intensified storm surges in Latin America and the Caribbean will be highest in Jamaica”, he further stated.

Vaz told the session that Jamaica's capacity for project implementation has improved in recent years, but acknowledged the need for greater focus in this area, the release said.

“A key bottleneck identified for the design and implementation of nature-based infrastructure is the lack of data related to the ecological features that provide coastal protection, as well as the co-benefits provided by ecosystems associated to livelihoods such as fisheries or carbon sequestration. Without this data, it is difficult to develop economic analyses that compare hard and nature-based infrastructure, which is a critical step in the preparation phase for any intervention,” Vaz said.

However, according to the ministry, he made it quite clear that the Jamaican Government was not simply waiting on international intervention but was doing all it could to by way of investments in climate resilient infrastructure, as well as ensuring that the necessary policy framework is put in place.

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