Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune : A Post-COP 20 Climate Change National Consultation

Mar 11, 2015


Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune

AI UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Jamaica

A Post-COP 20 Climate Change National Consultation

(MWLECC and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES))

Windward Suite, Knutsford Court Hotel,

Wednesday, March 11, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm


  • ·         Chairman, Mr. Jeffrey Spooner

  • ·         Dr Alwin Hales, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change (MWLECC)

  • ·         Mrs. Judith Wedderburn, Director Freidrich Ebert Stiftung

  • ·         Representatives from key agencies of the Government of Jamaica

  • ·         Members from the private sector

  • ·         Other stakeholders and partners

  • ·         Ladies and Gentlemen


A very good morning to all of you.

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme in Jamaica, I am delighted to be here and to bring remarks at this National Consultation for the post 20th Conference of Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

We commend the Government of Jamaica for its efforts to build a platform for dialogue and information sharing, after its participation in each annual meeting of the COP.

For UNDP climate change adaptation and mitigation is a development priority. Thus, we remain committed to working with existing and emerging partners and stakeholders to help Jamaica build resilience to climate change at every level. Our commitment is evidenced by the support that UNDP, together with the Global Environment Facility, recently provided to the Third National Communication/Biennial Update Report project being undertaken by the Climate Change Division of MWLECC. 

As a small island developing state, Jamaica has been a leader in tackling tough development issues at negotiation tables, and in undertaking concrete actions to address climate change. Government, civil society groups, NGOs, academia and the media have over the years increased attention to, and focused on, the issue of climate change, its impacts and actions that need to be taken.

Today, those who participated in the COP20 will be sharing information and experiences with the stakeholders gathered here. I will therefore simply highlight three key areas that may be of relevance to all of us here.

First, I would like to highlight the interest that was shown in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) at the COP20 as a means for building resilience. Discussions were also started on mechanisms to fund NAPs, with special focus on the Green Climate Fund.  We were proud to note that Jamaica, along with seven other countries, were a part of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network launched at the COP.  We are aware that Jamaica’s own Plan is being advanced and that it will contribute to mainstreaming climate change into broader development planning. UNDP supports this effort, as it builds on past work done on climate change while contributing to cross-sectoral harmonisation, improved collaboration and reduced duplication of efforts.

In addition, Jamaica’s NAP process will be further enhanced under the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership Project which is a regional project out of Barbados, supporting 8 Caribbean countries – including Jamaica.  This initiative will not only assist the country with NAPs and NAMAs but will also provide resources for demonstration projects in communities in the areas of climate change adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. UNDP Jamaica looks forward to working with the Government and other stakeholders on its national implementation, which is starting in the very near future.

Second, I noted that a key item on the agenda for today’s consultation is ‘funding for climate change’. At the Lima COP last December there were encouraging signs with respect to financing climate change responses. Norway, Australia, Belgium, Peru, Colombia and Austria made further pledges to the Green Climate Fund, bringing it nearer to the USD10 billion mark. Germany made a significant pledge to the Adaptation Fund, to the tune of 55 million Euros. UNDP encourages Jamaica to continue to identify funding opportunities to support the country’s adaptation and mitigation work. We should all be on the alert. We should all be bold, persistent and creative in maximizing every dollar secured, to ensure it really helps Jamaica address its challenges as a vulnerable small island state. Furthermore, it is essential that public-private partnerships be fostered to tackle climate change. While committing to providing as much technical support as it can, UNDP cannot overstate the critical role that the private sector has to play in building resilience to climate change.

Third, Education and Awareness Raising around climate change were put in the spotlight in Lima. The Lima Ministerial Declaration of Education And Awareness Raising spoke to the need to incorporate climate change in the curricula of the formal education sector. It also pointed to the need for a focus on climate change awareness in designing and implementing national development plans and climate change strategies.

Again, we know that Jamaica has done significant work in this area. A few years ago the Ministry of Education announced plans to infuse climate change into the school curricula. Just last month, the Minister of Education indicated that his Ministry was seeking material on climate change and environmental awareness, to include in a virtual education programme that would come on stream later this year. This is a very positive move in the right direction.

Other stakeholders – including NGOs and sections of academia - have been doing good work in climate change education and awareness, with various programmes for different audiences and production of learning materials and tools.

We encourage stakeholders and partners working in this area to be persistent. We should all look at increased collaboration, increased sharing of resources and knowledge and a focus on developing educational and awareness raising programmes with clear goals and objectives that can provide measurable results. This process has to be continuous.

UNDP is an organisation focused on sustainable development. As such, we see these kind of information-sharing consultations as an avenue for ensuring the sustainability of Jamaica’s actions on climate change. We hope that the consultations and discussions will catalyse tangible and sustained actions and also set the stage for further deliberations at COP 21 later this year in Paris. We wish you all the best in this consultation and we remain a committed partner in supporting the country as it tackles the challenges posed by a changing climate.

Thank you.

Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune

AI UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Jamaica


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