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Gov't establishes network to implement climate change provisions

Thursday, March 20, 2014    

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A Focal Point Network has been established to support the Government's implementation of provisions under the Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan across the public sector and the wider society.

The network, comprising 27 representatives from ministries, departments and agencies, will collaborate with the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change to implement the provisions.

Speaking at the network's launch, on Wednesday at the ministry's New Kingston offices, principal director of the Climate Change Division, Albert Daley, said its establishment represents "partial fulfillment" of requirements under the Climate Change Policy Framework.

He explained that representatives are expected to identify policies and plans either being developed or revised, and relay details of these to the Climate Change Division. This is to facilitate the unit's implementation of strategies to ensure the incorporation of climate change considerations.

"One of the first things that we are expecting is a complete listing of all the climate change initiatives that are being implemented in the various ministries and agencies, so that we can have a comprehensive database on all climate change and climate change-related initiatives," he said.

Daley advised that the representatives will be given specialised training to enhance their skills and competencies in mainstreaming climate change considerations in the targeted plans and policies, adding that his division was actually in the process of preparing those training initiatives.

"Once we have ministries with persons having the skills in these areas, persons who will help to guide and coordinate these initiatives, then we will have some level of assurance that the policy framework will be in place to enable us, as a country, to be able to respond in a more appropriate manner to the inevitable impacts of climate change," he said.

Daley pointed out that the complement of representatives in the focal point network is anticipated to increase to 40, as the Ministry moves to include more persons, particularly at the community level.

While noting that a significant number of the representatives will be based in Kingston and St Andrew, consequent on their organisational attachments, Daley said "we (anticipate) representation, hopefully, across all the parishes".

He added that in the long run it is anticipated that the public sector will have the plans in place and the policies that are sensitive to climate change considerations.

"So, when we have these impacts of climate change, the damage and losses we suffer will be greatly minimised," Daley argued.

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill, meanwhile, challenged members of the network to help the country and other stakeholders to not just respond to, or survive (the effects of climate change), but to thrive.

"With coordinated action, sensible planning, and robust implementation (of initiatives), Jamaica can thrive. While climate change presents us with immense challenges, it also presents opportunities for smart and innovative policy, project and investment (implementation)," said the minister.

— JIS

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