Jamaica pilots climate risk analysis programme
Pearnel Charles Jr

Jamaica has become the first country in the world to begin the process of developing a predictive climate risk assessment planning tool for major infrastructure areas under the global private sector-led Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.

The tool, as explained by Professor Jim Hall, director of research in the School of Geography and the Environment at University of Oxford, “[will enable] local decision-makers to assess climate risk to Jamaica's infrastructure networks to visualise hot spots of high levels of economic and social value at risk, in relevant time horizons.”

The pilot project, called 'Supporting Investment Decision-Making for Resilient Infrastructure in Jamaica', targets the energy, water and transport sectors and was launched on March 10 with a virtual workshop that attracted more than 80 participants from a range of public and private sector entities.

It was co-created and funded by the United Kingdom Government through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Green Climate Fund.

University of Oxford, a global leader in the geospatial assessment of climate risks and appraisal of options for improving infrastructure system resilience, will be one of the technical delivery partners and will work closely with the Planning Institute of Jamaica to ensure the alignment of the scope of work with local and institutional needs.

The project is slated to last 15 months and will include the participation of multilateral development banks, national banks, private sector and other sources of financing. Jamaica's involvement is expected to put the island centre stage at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) scheduled for Glasgow in November 2021, where adaptation and resilience will be among the main campaigns of the UK-led COP.

Addressing the launch, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change Pearnel Charles Jr stressed that Jamaica's infrastructure is under serious threat from the impacts of climate hazards, and as such needs expansion and modernisation of critical infrastructure. He said investments to that end “must go hand-in-hand with our economic recovery and sustainable development goals”, for while “we can't prevent disasters from happening, we can avoid the ripple effects of climate change if we act on adaptation and resilience today”.

Deputy British High Commissioner to Jamaica Daniel Shepherd highlighted the long-standing partnership between Jamaica and the UK in the fight against climate change, and thanked Jamaica for helping to develop and pilot the new methodology, which will hopefully be rolled out across the Caribbean and the world. Shepherd also welcomed the participation of the Green Climate Fund in the project and gave a nod to the opportunities for developing nature-based solutions to strengthen resilience.

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