Jamaican NGOs learn about and prepare for COP 21

Nov 5, 2015

Minister Robert Pickersgill, Dr. Elsie Laurence Chounoune of UNDP and Dr. Sharon Crooks of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change listen closely as NGO representative Wordsworth Gordon explains his organisation's work at the community level in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Photo Credit: UNDP Jamaica.

Representatives from more than 20 Jamaican Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Community-Based Organizations (CBO) engaged in direct dialogue with Jamaica’s climate negotiators in a workshop held on 5 November 2015 under the Government of Jamaica’s Public Awareness and Engagement Campaign leading to the climate change Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris.

At the workshop, which was held at the Forestry Department, the NGO and CBO members shared information and exchanged ideas on how to best represent the country’s position and interests at the upcoming COP 21. They learned more about climate change and its impacts on Small Island Developing States (SIDs) like Jamaica, and about the country’s negotiating position for COP 21.

Speakers at the event stressed the importance of these negotiations for SIDs and pointed to the fact that the very future of the country was at stake in terms of its ability to cope with the increasing challenges of climate change.

“When our negotiators go to the COP meetings and argue for more funding to adapt to climate change impacts, it is not mendicancy, it is survival. Small island states like Jamaica must receive help to deal with the host of problems associated with the impacts of climate change,” said Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who participated in the opening session of the event.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, also pointed out that the outcome of COP 21 was of critical importance to Jamaica and Jamaicans, and she urged NGOs and CBOs to throw their support behind the country’s position.

She noted that three NGOs from Jamaica would be participating in the conference with support from UNDP and GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), and encouraged them to play their part in highlighting the climate change challenges Jamaica faces and the support needed to help the country adapt.
 
“UNDP sees NGO and CBO’s presence at COP 21 as critical. While the official government delegation speaks for the country at the negotiation table, it is nevertheless important to have relevant groups and individuals share their experience in side events or similar activities. Equally, it is important that NGOs and CBOs be represented because their own work in climate change adaptation and mitigation demonstrates Jamaica’s potential to respond effectively to these challenges,” Dr. Laurence-Chounoune stated.

The workshop is the fifth public engagement event organized under the COP 21 campaign, which has also included media interviews with members of the negotiation team and public meetings held in the towns of Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay. 

UNDP and the SGP are sponsoring the participation of three NGOs: the Jeffrey Town Farmers’ Association, the Jamaica Maritime Institute Trust Fund and the Clarendon Parish Development Committee Benevolent Society. All three organizations mounted mini-exhibits at the workshop and highlighted their work in climate change adaptation and mitigation. 
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Wordsworth Gordon (right) of the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association explains his NGO's work to other NGO representatives at the workshop
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Colonel Oral Khan of the Ministry of Water Land, Environment and Climate Change speak to Mrs. Ivy Gordon of the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association and Indi McLymont Lafayette of Panos Caribbean. Both Panos and Jeffrey Town will be sending representatives to COP 21
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Chairman for the COP 21 NGO Workshop, Rev. Gary Harriot, introduces the members of the headtable: Minister Robert Pickersgill, Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chonoune of UNDP and Dr. Sharon Crooks, Director General in the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change.
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NGO representatives listen closely to a presentation made by Jamaican negotiator, Mr. Clifford Mahlung

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