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In search of climate financing

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Jamaica's climate negotiators, who are in Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23), are reporting a good first day of the preparatory meetings leading up to the global climate change conference which runs from November 6-17.

The negotiators — led by retired meteorologist Clifford Mahlung and Senior Technical Officer Dr Orville Grey as well as principal director of the Climate Change Division Una May Gordon left the island on Sunday and had their preparatory meeting yesterday. The rest of the 22-member delegation is expected to depart the island next Sunday.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) — the bloc with which Jamaica and other Caricom states negotiate — met to formalise its position going into the conference. The Group of 77 and China will have its preparatory meetings on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for round-table discussion.

“The meeting was a success,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer from Bonn. We had the AOSIS prep then met with the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice chair.”

At the top of the agenda for AOSIS, and by extension Jamaica, is long-term climate financing, without which, it contends, small islands which are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change will not be able to survive.

Developed country parties committed to jointly mobilising US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation. Climate Policy Initiative reported in 2015 that global finance flows reached at least US$391 billion in 2014 as a result of a steady increase in public finance and record private investment in renewable technologies.

Jamaica is currently benefiting from one of the climate financing initiatives, having recently received a grant for US$300,000 under Green Climate Fund's Readiness Programme. The funds are earmarked to develop its physical, technological and human resources to tackle the immense challenges posed by climate change, by strengthening the capacity of the Climate Change Division, the national designated authority in Jamaica. The country has also been approved to receive another grant which the Government says will be used to strengthen the capacity of the private sector to access resources for climate action.

That type of capacity-building, Gordon argued, is critical if the country is to implement strategies to effectively deal with climate change

“Funds are available for climate change adaptation and mitigation, but if we don't increase and strengthen our capacity to target and access these funds they are going to pass us by,” she said at a consultation with climate change interests in Kingston a week ago.

We recently joined 59 developing countries around the world which have access to funds.

She explained that adapting to and mitigating the threats posed by climate change will require significant outlays of funds, not only for infrastructural projects, but for human resource development as well as for investment in technical and technological advances.

Speaking at that consultation, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz said the impacts will be felt not only in the agriculture industry, but also in tourism, real estate, timber, and equity portfolios. He referenced a UN-ECLAC study, which estimates that the cumulative losses due to loss of marine ecosystems by storm damage and other factors up to 2050 may average as much as US$366 million per year, and pointed to Citigroup data, which showed that global warming could adversely affect the gross domestic product of countries around the world by up to $72 trillion.

“Mitigation costs alone could be in the range of US$140-US$175 billion per year by 2030,” said Vaz.

“Climate change has far-reaching implications for our future, particularly in terms of lives, livelihoods, and the country's sustainable development goals. As a Government, many of the decisions that we must make in this country must take into consideration job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness, [but] climate change has the potential to disrupt our plans, programmes and projects.

“Long-term financing, therefore, remains one of the critical areas on the agenda of SIDS as we prepare to go into the discussions in Bonn,” he said.

The annual global climate talks are coordinated by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


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