Well, it’s probably far too late for our beloved and once popular Hellshire Beach, but the Sandy Shorelines of the Caribbean Project is a welcome development for the region. Coastal erosion, especially on the south coast of Jamaica, remains a huge problem. There are several factors, including rising sea levels, and more storms, due to climate change. In the case of Hellshire, a cluster of human activity-related factors have also contributed to the disappearance of the beach. The coral reef I remember seeing in the 1980s when I used to visit it is now completely gone. I need to obtain more information about the Government’s “ongoing efforts to monitor and rehabilitate the Hellshire Community.”
A footnote: This is not only a problem for the Caribbean. A very recent global study of the world’s beaches by NASA and published in Nature magazine concludes that 24 percent of Earth’s sandy shorelines are eroding, including many in marine protected areas. However, some beaches are increasing slightly. For your information, Africa has the largest percentage of sandy beaches (66 percent).
Here is the press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade:
JAMAICA TO RECEIVE STATE OF THE ART COASTAL EROSION MONITORING TOWER
August 15, 2018
The Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) are working with Jamaica for the second phase of evaluation for the implementation of the “Impact Assessment of Climate Change on the Sandy Shorelines of the Caribbean Project.”
The project was discussed during the visit of a joint delegation of the three entities from 7th to 10th August 2018. The project, which is an initiative of the ACS, is valued at US$4 million and is being funded by the Republic of Korea, through the KOICA, with specialized technical assistance from the Government of Cuba.
The objective is to establish a regional network for coastal erosion monitoring, geared towards understanding how climate change affects our region’s beaches. Detailed erosion monitoring is particularly important to climate change adaptation, and is necessary for sustainable long-term coastal protection solutions. Without such data, proposed engineering solutions sometimes exacerbate existing erosion problems. The data and models produced by this project will also help to build the case for the provision of climate finance to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Jamaica.
The project will, among other things, see the erection of an erosion monitoring tower for the Hellshire Beach in Portmore, given the dire state of coastal erosion in that area. This is historic, as Jamaica will be the first in the region to receive such a monitoring tower.
Other countries receiving support include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the High Commission of Jamaica in Port of Spain accredited to the ACS, has expressed full commitment to this project which is expected to provide significant capacity building support in terms of shoreline monitoring. It will also complement the Government’s ongoing efforts to monitor and rehabilitate the Hellshire Community, and other parts of the island in need of shoreline replenishment.
The Sandy Shorelines project will be implemented through the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), and the Urban Development Commission (UDC).
Contact: The Public Relations & Media Affairs Unit at Tel: 926-3740 ext 3420-3421.