#Jamaica, February 13, 2018 – Kingston – The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), on Friday (February 9), launched its 2015 State of the Jamaican Climate Report, which provides a concise overview of data and information on Jamaica’s climate. The report, which is an update of the 2012 edition, builds on the core data in the previous report, and is a first reference point with respect to parameters such as rainfall, temperature, sea level rise and solar radiation. It notably examines the potential impact of climate change on key sectors such as agriculture, education, energy, health and tourism, and provides recommendations on how best to address these issues.
The report was jointly prepared by the PIOJ under the Pilot Programme on Climate Resilience (PPCR)/Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project (ICDIMP), and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Climate Studies Group.
PIOJ Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, in his remarks at the launch, held as part of the UWI Research Days activities on the Mona campus, said that facilitating Jamaica’s transformation to a climate-resilient economy and society is central to the ICDIMP, which targets the production of improved data for local and national planning. He said the PIOJ strongly associates with this development objective because of the contribution that the project is making and can make to informed decision-making at every level of Jamaican life.
Dr. Henry lauded the collaboration of the various partners in completing the 2015 report, which he described as an “excellent example of government agencies working with the support of the international development community”. The ICDIMP is a five-year US$6.8-million project, which is part of Jamaica’s Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR).
The PPCR is financed by the Climate Investment Fund (CIF), with the value of Jamaica’s overall programme totalling US$30 million. That programme is being jointly implemented by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.
World Bank Country Manager for Jamaica, Galina Sotirova, described the report as a very “critical body of work”. This, she said, against the background of Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate and natural disasters being identified among the major challenges to economic growth, wealth creation and poverty eradication. She noted that Jamaica experienced 11 storm events and severe weather events between 2001 and 2011, resulting in damage and losses totalling over $122 million.
Additionally, Ms. Sotirova said the dislocation caused by hurricane Ivan in 2004 equated to eight per cent of the gross domestic product.
“The damage and losses result in heavy fiscal burdens, increased indebtedness and redirection of resources from medium-term development goals… and when a disaster happens, the poor are the ones (who) are most impacted,” she added.
Ms. Sotirova congratulated the PIOJ and its partners for preparing the 2015 report and expressed the hope that it will be adopted and used by the decision-makers.
“We (World Bank) remain committed to supporting Jamaica in the implementation of the recommendations,” she added.
For her part, Chair of the UWI Research Days, Professor Denise Eldemire Shearer, noted that climate change has been a focus of the annual event since she assumed the position. She contended that “there is no doubt that the UWI considers this an important topic”, reiterating that the state of Jamaica’s climate resilience “is an extremely important obligation for decision-making”.
“I cannot think of a better event to be part of than Research Days. When (Climate Studies Group Chairman) Professor (Michael) Taylor approached us, we immediately said yes and said we would make it a signature event,” she noted.
Professor Taylor provided an overview of the publication during the launch.