Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative (File Photo)


Online Conversations - 25 Years of Climate Action in Jamaica of the Climate Change Division Monday, 11 May 2020

Presented by Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative

Sharing perspectives on how UNDP has supported Climate Change action, and plans to continue the partnership in the future


  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz
  • Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head, Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands
  • Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr Wayne Henry
  • Principal Director, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Una May Gordon
  • Deputy Director General, Sustainable Development and Social Planning, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Claire Bernard
  • Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Government, NGOs
  • Other distinguished ladies and gentlemen

UNDP is honoured to be a valuable partner of the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and is appreciative of being asked to participate in this virtual Online Conversations.

Treating with respect the natural assets of our earth while recognizing  its value and vulnerabilities will go a long way towards sustaining our livelihoods and ensuring food security and the wider development ambitions for generations to come.  This is at the core of UNDP’s work to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience to build empowered lives and resilient nations.

With the advent of Climate Change and given Jamaica’s high vulnerability to its social, economic and environmental impacts, over the last 20 years, UNDP has in strong  partnerships with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and its Climate Change Division, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, other ministries and agencies, community groups, and individuals, developed a robust portfolio of Climate Change adaptation and mitigation projects to advance national and local resilience while ensuring its connection to global expertise and knowledge networks and galvanizing national and local partnerships.

What are some of the factors guiding our interventions in Jamaica?

·        Jamaica, like other small island development states (SIDS) is being more disproportionately affected by climate change

·        The geographical location and open economy make Jamaica susceptible to natural hazards such as storms, hurricanes, floods, droughts and earthquakes

·        Droughts are more frequent, severe and prolonged. Average annual rainfall in Jamaica is now regularly below the 30-year mean for most parishes.

·        Without significant progress on SDG 13 (Climate Action),14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on Land), achievement of the SDGs is threatened

·        Greenhouse Gas-emitting Fossil fuels still dominate the energy mix in Jamaica as the country is still over 90% reliant on imported oil.

·        Rural Communities are often severely impacted by climate change affecting their access to potable water, further impacting food production, income and poverty

·        Coral reef health – needed to support fisher livelihoods, beach regeneration and buffer storm impact has declined by 2% since 2017.


Over the years, in partnership with the GEF Small Grants Programme and international development partners, UNDP has responded strategically to enhance the country’s capacity to tackle climate change and improve resilience in seven main categories:


1.      Policy advisory services to support evidence-based policy and decision-making and improve the policy and legislative framework for climate change adaptation and mitigation

2.      Supporting Jamaica to meets its international obligations and reporting commitments

3.       Strengthening technical capacities

4.      Water harvesting to mitigate the impacts of drought on rural farming communities

5.      Renewable energy solutions for communities and national entities

6.      Advancing solutions to improve natural resources management

7.      Promoting and supporting sustainable livelihoods for those living in and near Protected Areas, Sanctuaries and other high value natural assets

As a result of UNDP’s strong and active partnerships, allow me to highlight  some of the remarkable achievements that have been made.  These include:

·        Technical support for the establishment of the Climate Change Division.

·        Technical and financial assistance in the development of the National Energy Policy and associated sub-policies as well as support for in integrating climate change and gender imperatives into national development policies and plans.

·        Supporting Jamaica to meet its reporting and international commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment as well as a number of biodiversity-related international conventions which have direct impact on the country’s resilience goals.

·        Assisting the country to access climate change financing

·        Improving and expanding water storage capacity by a combined 2.2 million gallons over the last seven years, currently serving more than 135 000 persons across 128 communities.

·        Advancing sustainable agricultural practices across rural communities

·        Increased penetration of renewable energy technologies in hospitals, schools and communities.

We have seen that despite not necessarily having huge financial investments, significant progress have been made.  We have also seen that the best line of defence against the impacts of Climate Change is to empower people  and communities through knowledge transfer and coming up with homegrown solutions to shape decisions that affect them.

UNDP lauds the efforts of the Government and other stakeholders towards improving Jamaica’s resilience. While we celebrate, we acknowledge that there is much work to be done.  UNDP is committed to continuing the partnership in enhancing technical and financial capacity to advance social, economic and environmental resilience at all levels, supporting upstream activities in policy advice and meeting its international obligations as well as empowering communities. Once again on behalf of UNDP let me thank our various local and international partners for enabling us to do what we do.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you very much for listening.

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