Jamaica will design a broad-based strategy for reducing the economic and social effects of severe weather events and other climate change impacts in an IDB knowledge and capacity building initiative financed by the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR).
Jamaica’s size and geographic location make it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. More extreme weather patterns will increase impacts on coastal infrastructure and communities, tourism infrastructure and coastal ecosystems, agriculture, health, water resources, and invasions of non-native species, which may include pest infestations. Climate change adaptation is critical to Jamaica, and failure to implement adaptation measures will inevitably retard the achievement of the country’s development goals. At present, the country’s capacity to implement adaptation options is limited. National and local institutions lack the tools and systems needed to plan and carry out climate change strategies. In addition, there is a general lack of scientific information to facilitate adaptation planning.
The strategy to be developed will strengthen the country’s ability to plan measures to reduce climate change impacts and prepare an investment program to carry out these measures. It will also focus on capacity building, training, and climate change awareness, as well as piloting the implementation of cost-effective adaptation measures in selected areas.
The project. The knowledge management component to develop a strategic knowledge management plan will be financed by a US$200,000 PPCR grant
Jamaica’s SPCR will focus on areas identified by the government through a consultative and participatory process with key stakeholders. These areas are the following:
- Mainstreaming climate change into priority sectors.
- Facilitating sectoral adaptation measures.
- Strengthening policies and institutions.
- Building capacity for planning and forecasting.
- Climate change education and awareness.
The SPCR will also produce several investment projects based on priority programs and investment needs in the identified areas.
Studies will be carried out to secure information needed to develop the SPCR, including an analysis of the degree to which climate change issues are incorporated into the country’s development policies, plans, and regulations; a survey to gauge the knowledge, attitudes, and present practice in the area of climate change; and an assessment of the needs of key institutions to implement climate change programs.
In addition, aclimate change data management system will be created that consists of the installation of 20 automated stations to collect climate data and dissemination to help reduce disaster risks.
A climate change communication strategy and action plan and a climate resilience awareness and practice program will be carried out in the public and private sectors as well among the general public. The program will target vulnerable communities and groups.
High-priority on adaptation. Over the past three decades, Jamaica has experienced an increase in the frequency of natural events, primarily flooding related to inclement weather, tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes, and droughts. These events have contributed to a decline in the health of coral reefs, loss of sea-grass beds, severe beach erosion, and loss of forested areas.
In addition, these impacts have caused significant social dislocation and economic losses. In 2004, for instance, damage from Hurricane Ivan totaled J$35 billion, Hurricane Dean in 2007,J$23 billion, and Tropical Storm Gustav in 2008, J$15 billion. It is estimated that the cost to Jamaica of such weather-related events will be 13.9 percent of GDP by 2025, 27.9 percent by 2050, 42.3 percent by 2075, and 57 percent by 2100.
Lessons learned. Jamaica’s PPCR program will generate valuable information on water resource management and sustainable farming practices that will be piloted in Jamaica. It will also provide experience on how to help small farmers access funding to implement activities that will make them more resilient to the adverse effects of climate change. Initiatives piloted through this program could be scaled up and replicated in other islands of the Caribbean due to the similar challenges, effects, and contexts that small island states share within the region. Information generated will benefit the region as a whole.