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Where is the private sector?

UNDP resident representative says business community absent from climate change table

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 04, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Jamaica Dr Arun Kashyap has noted a "conspicuous absence" of the private sector on the matter of climate change, even while efforts are being made by the Government and international organisations such as his to mainstream climate change issues

in national development priorities.

It was an observation also made by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) at the CIF Partnership Forum in Montego Bay

last week, with both organisations underscoring the imporotance of private sector involvement in effectively helping vulnerable communities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

"With the private-sector becoming an integral actor in the national development process, it must become a proactive player in introducing efficiency and taking responsibility for reducing emissions and implementing adaptation initiatives in all areas of Jamaica's income-generating activities," Kashyap said.

To that end, the Government and the UNDP will be hosting a conference in Kingston later this month aimed at increasing the awareness of private sector leaders on the issues.

"...an unambiguous move towards managing risk, building resilience and strengthening preparedness does not happen by coincidence; it has to be a thoughtful choice that is reflected in the selected development pathway," said Kashyap.

The UNDP representative said he was of the view that international funds available to mitigate and adapt to climate change would be more accessible to countries where the Government and private sector work actively with each other.

Kashyap, who was guest speaker at the 50th Anniversary and Presidential Installation Banquet for the Rotary Club of Mandeville on Saturday, added that stakeholder involvement globally and in Small Island Developing States such as Jamaica, is particularly important, as climate change is no longer an issue for a distant future.

He said that a recently released international study out of the University of Hawaii on global climatic tipping points has indicated that countries in the tropics will feel the first impact

of unprecedented elevated temperatures as early as within the next seven years.

Kingston, Kashyap said, was among the first cities highlighted to experience the rising temperatures.

Pointing to the frequency of natural catastrophic events such as floods, tropical storms, hurricanes and droughts, the UNDP rep said the country was impacted by 10 disaster events between 2001 and 2010, resulting in an approximate cost to the country of nearly $112 billion.

He suggested that climate change also presents an opportunity for the private sector, and argued that in order to remain competitive nationally, regionally and to strengthen its value chain links with international trading partners, businesses have to move with haste to educate themselves on the significant impact.

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