Jamaica launches analytical tool for infrastructure risk assessment
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda on Tuesday launched the Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (JSRAT), which allows planners to conduct more informed infrastructure risk assessment to guide the public sector in prioritising investment for climate resilience.

MINISTER without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda on Tuesday launched the Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (JSRAT), making the country the first to use this system which allows planners to conduct more informed infrastructure risk assessment to guide the public sector in prioritising investment for climate resilience.

The development of JSRAT was undertaken for a project supported by the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI), UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Green Climate Fund. The technical work was undertaken by the University of Oxford.

Speaking at the event, Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which is the focal point for the JSRAT, said, “Given Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate shocks, the cumulative cost over the years and future climate projections, JSRAT is an important data-driven addition to the analytical toolkit to aid assessment of climate risks, particularly with respect to critical infrastructure such as water, transport and energy. We anticipate that the combination of the analytical capabilities of this tool along with those of relevant local platforms and the transfer of knowledge to local technical personnel should help to better guide our decision-making on future location and investment for infrastructure. JSRAT is a potential game-changer and we look forward to its utility as the country moves to not only modernise but also to retrofit and harden its infrastructure assets.”

Key features of JSRATl include climate risk hot spots – high resolution and visual analysis, accurately identifying hot spots of vulnerability across critical infrastructure; real life impact – assessment of practical impacts of increasingly severe weather events on specific services, such as more frequent water or power shortages caused by infrastructure damage; and open source – full control by the Government of JSRAT while allowing the methodology to be available worldwide.

The breakthrough technology underpinning the tool is based on proven analytical methods developed by the University of Oxford — one of the project’s lead technical delivery partners.

Professor of climate and environmental risks, University of Oxford, Dr Jim Hall, said: “The fundamental goal is to help unlock investment in climate adaptation. With limited resources and mounting needs, the Government of Jamaica will be able to use SRAT’s incredibly granular, precise and practical analytical capabilities to prioritise where infrastructure investment is needed most and attract the scale of private sector finance that has so far been missing until now, not only in the Caribbean but in climate adaptation worldwide.”

Executive director, Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI), Carlos Sanchez, said: “The climate crisis represents an existential threat to Jamaica, the wider Caribbean region and around the world. As countries race to protect their communities from escalating climate impacts on water, health, energy and supply chains, making infrastructure assets more resilient is vital, but cannot be delivered by the public sector alone. Private sector engagement is critical in bridging the existing infrastructure gap, making this technology a game-changer not only for Jamaica, but also for meeting the world’s infrastructure needs.”

National stakeholders have also been involved in developing the risk assessment tool by providing expert perspectives. Results from the initial network assessment used a model of the Jamaican economy to quantify the macro-economic impacts of the simulated disruptions. These results were then used to estimate impact on gross domestic product (GDP).

Jamaica is a pilot country of the CCRI which was launched during the high-level session of the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019 to mobilise the global private finance industry to help improve resilience in infrastructure by integrating physical climate risks into mainstream financial and investment decision-making for projects.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness endorsed the establishment of the CCRI which was spearheaded by the UK Government, the World Economic Forum and Willis Towers Watson (WTW), a global financial institution. The other convening institutions include the Global Commission on Adaptation and the World Resources Institute.

HENRY...given Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate shocks, the cumulative cost over the years and future climate projections, JSRAT is an important, data-driven addition to the analytical toolkit to aid assessment of climate risks

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