Jamaican communities getting climate-smart to Climate Change

Sep 22, 2017

At the Launch of the Pilot Projects: Lt. Col Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation confers with Yoko Ebisawa, Project manager, JCCCP Project Management Unit. HOME PAGE PHOTO: Porus High School students pose before their performance

  • Pilot Projects will demonstrate the power of Climate-smart technologies to offset Climate Change impacts in rural communities and schools                                

[22nd September, 2017]: Solar powered irrigation systems, cutting edge water harvesting systems and other climate smart technologies and techniques are being deployed in select rural communities and schools to mitigate some of the impacts of climate change, following a major launch on 13th September.

The three demonstration projects were officially launched under the regional Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership last week Wednesday at Jamaica 4H Clubs’ Denbigh Showgrounds location, even as the region faced the prospects of increasingly intense storm systems – a proven result of Climate Change.

According to JCCCP National Project Focal Point for Jamaica, Eltha Brown, pilots are being established to introduce solar powered irrigation to select farming communities in Cascade, St Ann impacted by drought; refurbishment of tanks and water harvesting technology in Victoria and Richmond Park in Clarendon; and model and sustainable climate smart school gardens in select Jamaica 4H Club-operated school gardens to serve as training grounds for students, farmers and community groups.

The projects, collectively valued at more than $70 million Jamaican dollars are designed to boost resilience to climate change impacts while enhancing agricultural production and sustainable livelihoods.

Honourable Darryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments, pointed out that the pilots were identified by the Government of Jamaica as priority areas, and welcomed the focus on climate change impacts on farmers, such as increased frequency of drought, reduced rainfall, reduced inflows into rivers and reduced water availability for irrigation. “I am particularly pleased … they will also serve as models for replication in other locations,” he further noted.  

In outlining the objectives of the School Gardens pilot, Minister Vaz said, “This is expected to result in a cultural shift which will subsequently lead to a more developed agriculture sector as our youth implement and impart their knowledge.  It will also serve to reduce the amount of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.”

Hideki Shinozaki  of the Japanese Embassy in Kingston who spoke on behalf of Japanese Ambassador, Masanori Nakano disclosed that the Government of Japan contributes more than US$16 billion to developing countries across the world for climate change adaptation and mitigation. "As integral international donor partners, the Government of Japan is very much committed to the continuation of our ongoing partnership with Jamaica as a country in the Caribbean region," he said. 

UNDP Resident Representative, Bruno Pouezat in lauding the JCCCP and its donor, the Japan Government, noted that the JCCCP is an important engine for achieving the development goals of the regional United Nations Multi country Sustainable Development Framework (UN MSDF) with particular reference to the outcome of achieving a sustainable and resilient Caribbean. He further noted that the focus on building resilience to climate change at the community level through the Pilot Demonstration Projects, addresses in very direct ways, Sustainable Development Goals associated with climate action, poverty alleviation, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, life on land and gender equality.

Noting that in 2017, Jamaica has experienced flood rains which have contributed to the decline in agricultural output by 8.5% in the April to June Quarter, Rural Agricultural Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Peter Thompson said "Climate change has brought with it, global warming and our response to that must be the use of solar energy to fuel not just the energy sector per se, but also to be an energy source for irrigation systems and for agro-industrial production."

The Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership with a regional allocation of US$15 million was launched last year in Kingston and Bridgetown. The pilot projects mark a new and important milestone in regional implementation and are expected to enhance local capacity to adapt to and lessen the impacts of Climate Change, especially in target communities. Climate Change continues to be a major concern to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Jamaica. Climate Change causes rising temperatures, changes in the seasons including growing seasons for crops, heavier rainfall and stronger and more intense storms, with flooding; more severe droughts and heat waves; rising sea levels impacting coastal communities and infrastructure.

Contact information

Gillian Scott, UNDP/UN Communications Analyst, Tel: 978 2390 – 9 Ext 2032; Mobile: 509 0724

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