MINISTER of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill has emphasised the need to increase climate change awareness among Jamaicans, noting that the issue is "everybody's business".
Pickersgill says tackling the effects of climate change on Jamaica will require a communal approach, "as we will all be affected".
The minister was speaking at the launch of a special video feature entitled "Climate Change and its Impact on Jamaican Farmers", held at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Kingston, on Wednesday.
"[This approach] must entail co-operation, communication and consistency of effort from everyone. We cannot allow progress toward the Vision 2030 goals to be derailed by climate change-related impacts," he argued.
The minister lamented that the impact of climate change on a small island such as Jamaica can have significant repercussions on its economic and social viability. He noted that the weather phenomenon impacts health, natural resources, infrastructure as well as access to water and food security.
"The impacts are likely to continue to greatly hinder Jamaica in its debt repayment efforts, while the economic cost of climate-related impacts will continue to increase," he noted.
Pickersgill, therefore, commended the PIOJ and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for its work in developing the educational video, which aims to increase public awareness on the topic.
The video, which was produced by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), will be aired over seven stations, including TVJ, CVM TV, JNN, PBCJ and Love TV, as well as featured in JIS' Jamaica Magazine programme.
It shows interviews conducted with farmers in the Bog Hole community of Clarendon, who have been adversely affected by long periods of drought as well as periods of flooding, caused by climate change.
Pickersgill said the video is a timely reminder that all Jamaicans must find new and innovative ways to lessen the impact of climate change on the environment.
For his part, Pilot Programme for Climate Change Resilience (PPCR) Focal Point Manager, PIOJ, Hopeton Peterson, said the video has been produced within the context of the implementation of the PPCR.
The PPCR is a global project aimed at improving the ability of vulnerable countries like Jamaica to withstand "the shocks and stresses" of climate change.
The programme provides technical assistance and investments to support countries' efforts to integrate climate risk and resilience into core development planning and implementation. Jamaica is one of six countries in the Caribbean benefiting from the PPCR.
Peterson informed that so far in Jamaica, the project has supported the development of a strategic programme for climate resilience, which entails three main components.
These include improving climate data and information management; mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the local sectoral and national plans, and implementing integrated adaptation strategies in the Rio Minho basin in Clarendon; and providing financing mechanisms for sustained adaptation initiatives by the public and private sectors and community-based organisations.