Gov’t will protect environment while pursuing development, says Vaz

Thursday, March 17, 2016

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THE new Government says it is committed to the country’s development while protecting the environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The pledge came from minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz while addressing the opening of a Targeted Topic Forum, organised by the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Tuesday.

The three-day event, hosted by the Government, was focused on developing a range of options for financing the implementation of a NAP, in order to strengthen the country’s climate resilience.

Instituting a national plan presents a critical opportunity for countries to incorporate climate change adaption into national development planning.

Vaz, who has responsibility for environment matters, said the Government, with the help of international partners, would be taking "a sector-by- sector approach" in relation to climate change adaptation, through the provision of sector strategies and action plans.

He said the development of a NAP will put Jamaica in a better position to access funding for the implementation of adaptation initiatives.

"In coming years, as climate change is predicted to make extreme weather events more frequent and more intense, we need to streamline our adaptation plans to prepare the key sectors of our economies for these threats," he pointed out.

Minister Vaz said the global forum presents a fruitful opportunity for the exchange of lessons, the coordination and alignment of efforts, and the sharing of best practices.

"This will ensure that significant support for climate-resilient development is attained as effectively as possible," he noted.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Representative Denise Herbol, in her remarks at the opening ceremony, said the United States Government is pleased to partner with the Jamaica in the development of the island’s national climate policy.

"Jamaica has emerged as a leader in the area of NAP development. Through the partnerships we have with key stakeholders we demonstrate that the complexities of climate adaptation planning can be overcome through strong coordination and engagement among development partners in all segments of the economy," she said.

The targeted topics forum brought together teams from 11 countries for discussions on the range of options for financing the implementation of NAPs.

Over the three-day event, policymakers and practitioners will be engaged in focused, technical discussions on the challenges and best practices related to national adaptation planning and to discuss how coordination may help.

The NAP process was created by the United Nations as an opportunity for countries to plan for robust, sustainable development in the face of climate stress. Each country’s NAP is driven by its unique adaptation needs.

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