Sat | Aug 17, 2019

Strides made in climate-change mitigation

Published:Monday | July 22, 2019 | 12:24 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Daryl Vaz
Daryl Vaz

The launch of the support for REDD+ Readiness Preparation Support project last week has indicated Jamaica’s acknowledgement of the damning effects of climate change and the urgent need for mitigation.

This programme is aimed at slowly halting and reversing forest cover and carbon loss locally, by reducing gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of forest carbon stocks and the sustainable management of forests.

Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio, who has oversight for land, environment, climate change and investment, told persons at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew, where the launch was held, that it is of great importance for Jamaica to retain forest cover.

“Given that 40 per cent of Jamaica is classified as forest, it is critical that we do all we can to retain our extensive forest cover as it is essential to Jamaica’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. It is a well-known fact that the degradation of our forests is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions which, in turn, contributes to the long-term changes in the climate. As such, forests have an enormous role to play in any attempts to combat climate change.”

Roughly five years ago, the United Nations Development Programmme, assisted and encouraged the Forestry Department to join the programme.

Last week’s launch of the Support for REDD+ Readiness Preparation in Jamaica will be the first in a series of activities that will take place over the next 28 months. Activities will include consultation with various stakeholders, preparation of the national REDD+ strategy, and the building of a road map towards developing a national forest monitoring system.

Climate Change Division

“The Climate Change Division in my ministry and the Forestry Department are continuously working to address the challenges we face as a nation, especially given the impact of climate change on small-island developing states like Jamaica.

“Our efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) are critical to the achievement of the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan, which states in National Goal No. 4 that ‘Jamaica must have a healthy environment’, and I would add that there can be no compromise in meeting this goal.”

Vaz stated that the loss of any forest type is serious and includes significant threats to the livelihoods of individuals and communities that rely heavily on our forests. Other impacts include the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, and the damaging impacts on agriculture and water resources.

“Therefore, initiatives such as REDD+ are welcomed, as they aid us to better manage these resources for the benefit of the current and future generations.

REDD+ is aligned to the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan (2016-2026) which supports the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Outcome 3 of the Forest Management and Conservation Plan requires Jamaica to conduct technical studies and develop a national REDD+ strategy that aligns with the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com