Jamaica Gleaner / JAMAICA IS reportedly progressing in its effort to propose an alternative use of the funds that were allocated for a component one of its Adaptation Fund (AF) projects, which was terminated in the face of opposition from hotel interests in Negril.
“The AF project was a wonderful opportunity for Jamaica … . We were among one of the first to get the funds. Our technical people worked very hard to bring the funds in, and we did not execute as well as we could have,” said Eleanor Jones, the private sector representative on the Steering Committee for the project, which has two other components.
“But we are working towards trying to get the funds reallocated, or to get some reconsideration for reallocation. The fact is that Jamaica’s coasts are eroding and we have critical infrastructure at risk along a lot of sections of the coasts. We just have to do our best to get a new site and try to get it approved,” she added.
Cabinet, more than a year ago, terminated the first component, valued at some US$5.5 million of the US$9.2 million approved by the AF board for the entire project and which was designed to boost the resilience of the Negril coastline to climate change.
Climate-change risks include coastal erosion, sea-level rise and more extreme weather events such as hurricanes, any one of which would undermine the tourism sector in Negril, as elsewhere on the island.
The decision followed failed attempts by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, serving as the designated national implementing entity for the project, to reach consensus with the hoteliers over the planned installation of breakwaters and a report from the Office of the Public Defender that criticised the public consultation process for the work.
Jones, also head of the consultancy firm Environmental Solutions Limited, said that they are now guarding against the challenges of the last effort.
“We have to select a site that already has some baseline information we can work with so that we don’t have to start from scratch. We are examining a few options and looking at those and we have been talking with the people in those locations and ensuring that they tell us exactly what they need so that we can take it fully onboard in the designs,” she said.
“They (the project principals) have made significant progress; they are well underway with it. I think that if we get approval, we should be able to hit the ground running,” she added.
Meanwhile, information out of the AF Secretariat is that the remaining two components of the project – ‘Enhancing the climate resilience of the agricultural sector by improving water and land management’ (US$2.5 million) and ‘Improving institutional and local level capacity for coastal and agricultural adaptation and awareness raising for behaviour modification’ (US$785,500) – has seen some good results.
“Component two of the project as well as the portion of component three targeted for agricultural adaptation have been highly successful and have been lauded by the agriculture ministry as a ‘game changer’ for its targeted technical support, land husbandry, water harvesting, disaster risk reduction training and smart agriculture interventions for more than 2,500 climate-vulnerable farmers and their families, who are breaking the cycle of poverty through the use of these new techniques and community empowerment,” secretariat manager Mikko Ollikainen told The Gleaner in August.
He added that the project had also seen an increase in “environmental and climate-change awareness, built institutional and local capacity for climate-change adaptation, protected livelihoods and improved food security to bring about more climate-resilient communities”.