In case you did not realize it, the Canadian Government has been quietly supporting various renewable energy and climate change-related initiatives in Jamaica in the past few years. Last August, the Canadians and the U.S. Government jointly provided funding for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to acquire Blue Mountain Renewables (BMR) Jamaica Wind Limited. At the time Sir Richard observed that he would like to “get a green energy revolution and bring the cost of energy down for everybody. Get rid of the dangers of coal and oil and the dirty (energy sources) that we are using today.” I hope that we are still heading in that direction in Jamaica and in the Caribbean, although I still feel we are dragging our feet in this area.
Nevertheless, last October an MOU signed at the Canadian High Commission between the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and emPOWERed Caribbean Communities launched the Caribbean Energy Solutions Research Institute (CESRI) in Jamaica. On that occasion, Mrs. Julie Forrest, Senior Trade Commissioner noted: “Canada’s tremendous renewable energy resources and experience in the sector make it an ideal partner for countries like Jamaica, who are actively pursuing a renewable energy strategy. Jamaica has made significant strides in the implementation of its renewable energy deployment. The alliance between BCIT and emPOWERed Caribbean Communities to create CESRI will provide a collaborative vehicle for technical cooperation and research to support energy sector planning.”
Now the Canadians are reporting the successful conclusion of a project aimed at reducing the risk and negative impacts of natural disasters affecting a vulnerable area on our south coast – the Portland Bight Protected Area (whether those disasters are fueled by climate change or by natural hazards). Here is the Canadian High Commission’s press release. In the cover photo, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Sylvain Fabi (right) presents a plaque of appreciation to Brandon Hay, Science Officer/Fish Sanctuary Manager at the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) at the conclusion of the Portland Bight Protected Area Disaster Risk Reduction Project last week. (Photo: Canadian High Commission/Jamaica)…
Date: February 17, 2017
Jamaican communities better able to address emergencies and climate change with Canadian support
Abacus for Communities and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) recently completed the projects in Jamaica which have helped communities across the island to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.
Jamaica’s largest environmental conservation area, Portland Bight, is now better equipped to deal with climate change with the completion of The Portland Bight Protected Area Disaster Risk Reduction Project. C-CAM, which is responsible for the area that is home to birds, iguanas, crocodiles, manatees, marine turtles, and fish, received over CAD$15,000 and made additional contributions of more than CAD$8,000 to plant mangroves and train community members and students on their care.
Under the Community Emergency Communications for Natural Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation in Jamaica project, implemented by Abacus for Communities, emergency telecommunications systems were provided to 10 communities across Jamaica and 321 individuals were trained in the use of the equipment. This equipment and training has enabled these communities to have emergency communications during hazard events, thereby allowing emergency agencies to be able to access the information needed to plan their response and recovery efforts. This project totaled over CAD$175,000, with CAD$80,661 coming from the Government of Canada.
The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. Sylvain Fabi, was delighted to be able to present both organizations with plaques to commemorate the successful implementation of these community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives. Mr. Fabi commented during the presentation that “we have all seen the devastation that can be caused by natural disasters and climate change. With these projects, it is our hope, that Jamaica will be more resilient and prepared for future events.”
Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and an escalation in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes threaten homes and businesses across the Caribbean. This can result in loss of life and has a significant negative impact on sustainable economic growth. To be able to respond to the increased threat of natural disasters and climate change, communities must build their resilience. The Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund is a CAD $3 million fund designed to support Caribbean-based non-governmental organizations, community groups, and governmental agencies working at the community level.
For more details, contact the Public Affairs Section, Canadian High Commission, 3 West Kings House Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica Telephone: (876) 733-3253