A Commonwealth expert has begun work in Jamaica to help the country access funding to tackle dangerous sea level rises, drought and other impacts of climate change.
Climate change consultant Katherine Blackman is the first national advisor mobilised as part of the Commonwealth’s Climate Finance Access Hub, which opened its doors in September 2016. The aim of the initiative is to support vulnerable Commonwealth countries bearing the brunt of climate change by facilitating access to billions of dollars earmarked for climate action. Ms Blackman previously worked with funding agency Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme.
“As a Small Island Developing State, Jamaica is vulnerable to a number of risks that are predicted to worsen due to climate change,” she said.
“Therefore the country will need to adapt to changes in sea levels, the increasing intensity of severe weather events such as tropical storms and hurricanes and harsher periods of drought.
“The government has been proactive in addressing these challenges through initiatives such as the establishment of the specialised Climate Change Division (CCD), which is supported by a Climate Change Focal Point Network and in 2016 the newly appointed Climate Change Advisory Board. But, like other countries, Jamaica is facing huge challenges in accessing funds pledged by the international community to help developing countries respond to climate change.”
According to a 2016 Commonwealth analysis, despite the target of US$100 billion a year by 2020, only US$726 million of available climate finance was received by the 31 Commonwealth small states at the time of reporting.
Ms Blackman, who is working with Jamaica’s Climate Change Division within the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, will help the country build the capacity to successfully bid for the pledged climate funds.