Govt of Ja. Continues Engaging Citizens on Climate Change, COP 21

Sep 17, 2015

Minster of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill meets with local media team from Northern Caribbean University at the Mandeville outreach meeting on climate change and COP 21. Photo Credit: UNDP Jamaica

Jamaica’s Climate Change Division (CCD) is continuing to roll out activities aimed at engaging the public in discussions about the upcoming Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21) and building awareness about Jamaica’s position in those negotiations.

With the tagline ‘Natural Disasters: Water! Drought! Food! Decision Time on Climate Change’ the public engagement campaign has been working to build awareness about existing climate change impacts on lives and livelihoods in the island and to educate Jamaicans about why the country’s negotiating position demands that global temperature increases be kept to 1.5 °C or lower to limit the anticipated devastating effects of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable countries.

UNDP Jamaica is providing support to the CCD for implementation of the campaign. Since the campaign launch on 21 August in Kingston, there have been a series of activities including media interviews, a public meeting and expo in the parish of Manchester in Central Jamaica and a journalism training workshop in Kingston.

On 17 September 2015, the Climate Change Division hosted a meeting and expo in Mandeville, Manchester. At that event, Mayor Brenda Ramsay emphasised the need for urgent action on climate change and pointed to actions by the Manchester Parish Council to tackle the issue, including a project on the parish’s south coast that built awareness about coastal erosion and sand dune protection, facilitated tree planting and encouraged the collection and recycling of PET bottles.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, engaged students attending the event in a lively question and answer session, while highlighting the importance of water conservation and rainwater harvesting for countries like Jamaica who are faced with longer dry periods as a result of the changing climate.

‘We can live without air for 3 mins, we can live without food for three weeks but we can only live without water for three days,” the Minister noted in pointing out the need to address the impacts of climate change on the country’s water supply.

Jamaica’s negotiators, Clifford Mahlung and Gerald Lindo also made presentations on climate change and on Jamaica’s position in the upcoming negotiations at COP 21.

Richard Kelly, UNDP’s Programme Specialist, Policy Advisory Services, stressed that climate change affects all persons regardless of social and economic status, age or gender. He commended the government’s efforts to have dialogue with citizens on climate change and encouraged Jamaicans to speak up about the issue.

“One of the major roles that citizens can play is to let your voices be heard. Be a part of the solution. Learn and understand all you can about climate change and what Jamaica and other small island developing states are doing. The Government is sharing vital information with you on climate change and on the negotiations that will take place. You can and must be part of the dialogue and change,” Mr Kelly said.

Upcoming activities for the campaign include: a public meeting and expo in Montego Bay, St James, engagement with private sector leaders, a meeting for community based and non-governmental organisations and a final stakeholder consultation in Kingston.

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