CEEBIP | Caribbean Environment & Energy Business Information Platform » News 2013-06-24 17:15:08

JAMAICA and the United States last Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will see greater co-operation between both countries on matters related to climate change and environmental best practices.

The agreement will see the ministries of water, land, environment and climate change and science, technology, energy and mining collaborating with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and promote environmental best practices.

An image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Superstorm Sandy as it bears down on the US east coast in October 2012. Climate change has been blamed for the increase in frequency and intensity of such storms.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill (left) greets Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Jamaica, Denise Herbol (right), prior to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at Jamaica House last Thursday to promote greater co-operation between Jamaica and the United States on matters related to climate change and environmental best practices. At centre is United States Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater. (PHOTO: JOSEPH

The programme of assistance will include a framework for the development of a Climate Change Policy, on which the government is working. A Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) will also be developed under the agreement.

Environment Minister Robert Pickersgill and Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Jamaica at at Jamaica House.

Pickersgill noted that work has already started on the Climate Change Policy, adding that the Low Emission Development Strategy and the National Adaptation Plan would be developed quickly.

“Under the Agreed Work Programme, the US Government has pledged technical and manpower assistance to the Climate Change Advisory Committee; on the establishment of climate change focal points; a technical expert to conduct analyses and provide guidance towards a climate finance policy; knowledge sharing to facilitate Government of Jamaica participation in International fora on climate change and sustainable development; and advice on trilateral co-operation with other countries in Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS),” Minister Pickersgill stated.

The US government will also assist in identifying possibilities for joint collaboration and co-ordination in enhancing capacity for LEDS.

Meanwhile, Minister Paulwell pointed out that in addition to facilitating opportunities for Jamaica’s development toward effective climate change and environmental protection, the MOU will facilitate greater collaboration between various agencies and the ministries.

He said the agreement provides practical applications which will benefit the country.

“There are so many practical things that we’re going to be doing. We’re going to get technical support, but we’re going to get on-the-ground support out of this arrangement and it’s going to be for a number of years to come,” he disclosed.

US Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater, who also addressed the signing ceremony, noted that her Government was very happy to establish a partnership agreement with Jamaica and be part of a global movement where countries are taking practical approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The US government applauds this spirit of co-operation and hopes the initiative will help Jamaica achieve its sustainable economic growth and development objectives, becoming a more climate-resilient and food-secure nation in the process,” she said.

Mission Director of the USAID, Denise Herbol, said the project is a flagship programme under US President Barack Obama’s Global Climate Change Initiative. The Initiative is tailored to each country’s needs and has so far partnered with 21 countries, including Jamaica.

“The programme will build on existing climate change related plans and strategies in Jamaica. The MOU signing brings us one step closer to gaining increased access to clean energy, while accelerating development and economic growth,” the mission director said.