Climate Change Policy for Cabinet

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says a climate change policy will be taken to Cabinet by next week for consideration.

The Minister also informed that Government is in the process of putting in place the core staff for the Climate Change Department within his Ministry. He said that the top three posts in the Department were advertised and interviews done to fill them.

Minister Pickersgill was reporting on Jamaica’s progress in dealing with matters relating to climate change while meeting with Director General, Department of Treaty and Law in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, Dr. Huang HuiKang, while on a visit to that country last week.

Mr. Pickersgill welcomed an offer from the Chinese government, through Dr. HuiKang, to strengthen international cooperation between the two countries on matters relating to global warming and climate change.

Dr. HuiKang noted that Jamaica has been playing a very important role in international climate change negotiations and that the Chinese Government is willing to assist the country in its efforts.

He also pointed out that in recent times the issue of climate change has become an important diplomatic one relating to China’s sustainable development.

Dr. HuiKang noted that China and Jamaica have had good cooperation in other areas and his Government wanted to extend this to climate change. “Both sides can work on concrete programmes and a plan to do more in this area. If you have any request for assistance we will do our best to cooperate with you,” he stated.

Both Minister Pickersgill and Dr. HuiKang agreed on the important role of publication and mitigation efforts in combating the effects of climate change.

As a Small Island Developing State (SID), whose economy is heavily dependent on earnings from tourism, Jamaica is among those countries deemed most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Minister Pickersgill noted that the ecosystem is important and the receding shorelines present stark evidence that climate change is “with us and not about to go away”.

He also pointed to the huge losses racked up by the island due to natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and informed of an insurance scheme being introduced to small farmers to help them deal with losses brought on by disasters associated with climate change.

He noted, however, that the Government has to convince the farmers of the need for such a policy, and this can only be achieved through public education.

Minister Pickersgill was part of the delegation to China from August 21-25, led by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

Among the topics discussed was the development challenges of climate change and global warming and, in particular, those challenges faced by SIDS in implementing necessary climate adaptation mechanisms and recovering from the significant damage caused by natural disasters.

Contact: Andrea Braham