Coping with Climate Change

Pineapples were among the many crops planted in the communities to bolster the sustainability of local agricultural ventures. Photo credit: Farahnaz Mohammed / UNDP Jamaica.

Jamaica suffers huge economic losses as a result of the environmental effects of climate change. More severe hurricanes, increased flooding, harsher periods of drought have left many agricultural workers unable to cope, and each year the cost in lives and infrastructural damage rises. Billions of dollars have already been lost in recuperation efforts, and increasingly governments are becoming aware that adaptation and capacity building are crucial to communities’ continued survival.

To address this, the UNDP, in conjunction with the Global Environment Programme, has implemented capacity building and climate change adaption programs in rural areas in Jamaica. Five communities – Bunker’s Hill, Glengoffe, Woodford, Cascade and the area surrounding Portland Blight are being equipped with the tools to help promote agricultural activity and bolster farming areas against the effects of climate change.

In addition to creating infrastructure which will aid in preventing soil loss, the farmers in the community are being educated about the impacts of climate change and engaged to use their experiences in developing strategies for coping with oncoming effects.

Hyacinth Douglas, the coordinator in charge of the Grants programme that enabled the program, was enthusiastic about the results saying that it has had “resounding success in helping communities to cope with climate change.” Roosevelt Lawrence, representative of the Glengoffe Development Committee, stated, “Before the land was not being used for agricultural purproses because of the fear of land slippage, but with the project the land is being used productively,” adding, “It is generating employment, preventing loss of property and lives, and providing an opportunity for people to help each other with the impacts.”

Under the UNDP/GEF framekwork, up to USD 50,000 was available to assist these communities in implementing measures to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. Aiding with the implementation in other areas are the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust (JCDT), the Climate Studies Group/Mona and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM). The project owes significant success to the work of its volunteers and grantees including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Rural Agriculture Development Authority, the Forestry Department and the Social Development Commission. 


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