$6.1 million project to build Jamaica’s resilience to climate change and protect livelihoods

A total of 6 million euros ($6.1 million) will be spent on a project that aims to increase Jamaica’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and reduce poverty by protecting livelihoods.

The project, titled A Jamaican Path from Hills to Ocean, is being funded in conjunction with a €4.9 million (US$5 million) grant from the European Union (EU) Global Climate Change Alliance (GCAA+) and a Contribution funded by the Government of Jamaica in the amount of 1.1 million euros ($1.12 million).

Speaking at the official launch of the project at the University of the West Indies (UWI) regional headquarters, Mona, Secretary of State for Economic Growth and Senator for Employment Creation, Matthew Samuda said environmental protection is critical to economic growth; Therefore, building resilience to the impacts of climate change is of paramount importance.

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The project uses an integrated and sustainable landscape management methodology in selected Watershed Management Units (WMUs).

The project, which started in November 2020, will be implemented over five years. It will directly benefit the communities and residents who live in or earn a living from resources in the target WMUs.

Minister Samuda hopes Jamaica will establish itself as a center of excellence in environmental management, climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Senator Samuda said the project is particularly critical because of Jamaica’s commitment to the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People.

The central goal of the initiative is to protect at least 30 percent of the world’s land and ocean surfaces by 2030. The 30×30 target is a global goal that aims to halt accelerated species loss and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of economic security.

Deputy Director-General, European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships, Myriam Ferran, said the project is part of the overall contribution the European Union is making to government to fight climate change and protect the environment.

“We are very grateful for the excellent cooperation with all the authorities involved,” she said.

The Deputy Director-General for External Collaboration, Management and Project Development at the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Barbara Scott, said fieldwork for the rapid ecological assessment of the three targeted watershed management units had begun in November 2021.

“It provides a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of the socio-economic aspect of the three watersheds, their biological and physical characteristics, and an assessment of the potential impacts of climate change threats and other stressors on their ecosystems,” Scott shared, adding it was approved by the Department of Life Sciences, UWI, Mona.

She said that the results will be useful, among other things, to inform measures and activities to be carried out within the framework of the project and the development of climate protection and environmental policies at the national level.

The Hills to Ocean Project is supported by the Planning Institute of Jamaica in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

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