Jamaica Prepares for Paris Climate Agreement

Apr 14, 2016

Staff from the Climate Change Division (l-r) Mr Clifford Mahlung, Dr. Orville Grey and Mr. Albert Daley share information about the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) and the new Paris Climate Agreement with national stakeholders. Photo Credit: UNDP Jamaica.

The Paris Climate Agreement - to be signed on 22 April 2016 - is critical to small island states like Jamaica. As such the Jamaican Government, through its Climate Change Division, recently organised a Post COP 21 Roundtable to inform a wide range of stakeholders about the December 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP 21) negotiations and the agreement reached at that conference.

On 14 April 2016 more than 60 representatives from government agencies, civil society and the media gathered at the roundtable meeting in Kingston to learn more about the Paris Climate Agreement from local negotiators and technocrats and to gain a better understanding of its implications for Jamaica.

In welcoming participants Mr Clifford Mahlung noted that COP 21, with its promise of an ambitious new climate agreement, was probably more highly anticipated than previous COPs. He said that while Jamaica was generally satisfied with the outcomes of the conference, it was clear that the new agreement required serious commitments from all countries.

Head of the Climate Change Division, Mr. Albert Daley, echoed this sentiment. In providing an overview of the road to the Paris Conference and the Paris Climate Agreement, he noted that one of the biggest challenges to implementing the agreement would be finding ways to ensure that all countries do what is necessary to meet the targets that have been set.

In delivering remarks on behalf of UNDP, Programme Analyst Novia McKay lauded the Government of Jamaica for consistently organising post COP briefing events for stakeholders.

“We are encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Jamaica’s negotiators and technocrats to communicate the science, the politics and the implications of the global COP deliberations with local audiences,” she stated.

She also noted the government’s efforts to build public awareness about COP 21 through a UNDP-supported sensitisation campaign which ran from August to December 2015 and targeted community based organisations, members of the media and students, as well as members of the public.

The roundtable had a full agenda, which included presentations from Jamaica’s negotiators, a panel discussion with representatives from government, academia and the media and presentations from civil society representatives who were a part of the Jamaican delegation to the COP for the first time.

Mr. Herbert Shim, a representative of the Caribbean Maritime Institute Foundation- a local NGO working to provide alternative energy solutions as part of climate change mitigation efforts - shared his experience at this first COP. He said it had provided him with exposure to what was being done in other countries and had also helped him share his experiences, research and work in Jamaica with a global audience.

Mr Shim was able to demonstrate his organisation’s work under a project funded by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) in Jamaica.

Participants at the roundtable paid close attention to the presentations and had a number of questions about balancing mitigation and adaptation in Jamaica, role of forests in mitigation efforts and the need to increase the capacity of the Climate Change Division. They expressed appreciation for the wealth of information presented at the event.

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