Jamaica builds local awareness about the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21)Aug 21, 2015
Given the significance of the upcoming Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) in December 2015, the Government of Jamaica and its stakeholders are rolling out a Public Engagement Campaign to raise awareness about the conference and Jamaica’s negotiating position for that event.
The four-month campaign, which was launched on 21 August, is being implemented by the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change with support from UNDP Jamaica.
“This is the first of these events, which will target specific groups, as well as the general public and will provide information on the Paris Climate Change Conference, as well as share the position of the government on behalf of the people of Jamaica. The information will include the negotiating positions that Jamaica and our partners in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) will try to ensure are reflected in the new agreement,” Minister Robert Pickersgill told stakeholders gathered for the launch at the Tarrant Baptist Church Hall in Kingston.
The campaign will include activities to sensitize the media, civil society organizations, youth, urban and rural groups and the private sector.
Representatives from community based organisations and the private sector were present at the launch, and they also highlighted the importance of building local awareness about the Paris COP, its implications for Jamaica as a small island developing state and climate change in general.
Mr. Wordsworth Gordon from the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, pointed to the severe drought being experienced in Jamaica and across the Caribbean as one of the impacts of climate change. He emphasized the importance of rainwater harvesting as one of the methods to be employed by Jamaicans to adapt to climate change.
Minister Pickersgill expressed support for this and other adaptive measures highlighted at the launch. He also spoke of the importance of citizen engagement around the Paris Climate Conference.
“During the events leading up to COP 21, I urge you all to give due consideration to, and take seriously, the theme for the deliberations “Natural Disasters Water. Drought, Food, Decision Time on Climate Change”. The future of our nation, our region and the planet hinges on the decisions taken at this conference, and your input is critical as we seek to build our “choir” so to speak, and join our brothers and sisters in speaking with one powerful voice on behalf of the region and indeed, all Small Island Developing States,” Minister Pickersgill said.
UNDP Resident Representative, Dr. Arun Kashyap, stressed that the global community must take action to ensure that the world is on track to confirm a new climate agreement at the Paris Conference, and called for increased awareness and action at the national level to help achieve this. Dr. Kashyap also pledged UNDP’s support to the public engagement campaign.
“We are closely collaborating with the Climate Change Division to share information about the Paris Climate Conference and Jamaica’s position with Jamaicans to get their feedback for sharing at the COP in Paris. Climate change affects every single citizen and as such every citizen should know what is at stake in Paris this December,” the Resident Representative stated.