Jamaica’s Voice Absent from high Level Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa – Upcoming Elections Prevents a Government Representative from Attending

As Jamaica Gears up for Elections on December 29th, the JLP Government has no representative at important Global talks on Climate Change to Present the Country’s Position

Two representatives of the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Office in Clarendon, (Sharlene Rowe & Judene Bailey) engrossed in a discussion with Gleaner journalist; Christopher Serju on the Jackson Bay Beach in Rocky Point Clarendon. The visit to the beach was the final activity of a one-day climate change and biodiversity workshop that was held in Mocho, Clarendon on March 29, 2011. The workshop is one of several community based activities which will be carried out by Panos Caribbean and The Mocho Community Development Association (MCDA) over a 15-month period to raise awareness of the issues of climate change and biodiversity in Mocho and Portland Cottage and surrounding communities.

Carol Francis – Durbam, South Africa, December 6, 2011 - The high level discussions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban South Africa will run from December 6-8 with Jamaica’s voice being noticeably absent for the first time in four years.

Jamaica is ranked 22 in the world, according to data published by The Global Climate Risk Index 2010 which analyses the extent countries have been affected by the impact of climate change (storms, floods, hurricanes, drought etc.)

Despite this, Jamaica will not be among those making a statement as the Jamaican delegation does not have a high level representative such as a Minister or head of state in attendance. This is due in part to the upcoming general election.

Speakers at the opening ceremony include South African President Jacob Zuma and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Statements will be made from heads of state, heads of governments and other heads of delegation over the reminder of the week.

The annual Climate Change Conference is a platform which provides a greater level of visibility of what’s happening and the needs that must be met to reduce the effects of climate change.

Scientists say that the lifestyle choices being made are altering the earth’s system.  This due to greenhouse gases emitted, by an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thanks to all the fossil fuels we burn, there is now more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Currently, 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean face a myriad of threats ranging from increasing temperatures, sea level rise, droughts, more intense hurricanes and flooding. At the conference, the Caribbean and other small islands are fighting to get firm emission targets of 1.5 degrees and 350 parts per million. If these targets are not met they argue that the small islands will not survive the impacts of climate change.

Also published on the Climate Change Media Partnership website. View article on that website here.

Jamaican Reggae artistes and community members from Portland Cottage re-planting 400 mangrove plants in the Portland Cottage community in Clarendon, Jamaica on in June 2011. The artistes are part of Panos Caribbean’s VOICES for Climate Change Education project which is carried out in Collaboration with the National Environmental Education Committee (NEEC). The project utilizes popular entertainers to spread the climate change and biodiversity conservation message.

Under the Climate Change Media PartnershipInternewsPanos and the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIEP, have joined forces to support developing world journalism and perspectives from the heart of the international climate negotiations.

Journalists from Asia, Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America have are attending and reporting from the conference as part of the climate change media partnership fellowship programme  designed to improve media coverage of climate change issues in developing countries.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is also the 7th meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire at the end of 2012, unless renewed.

One of the issues being debated at the meeting is whether a second commitment period will be agreed upon for the Kyoto Protocol or whether a new agreement will be formulated to replace the existing one. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), including Caribbean islands such as Jamaica, are calling for firm decisions on the second commitment period. The meeting which will run from November 28 until December 9, 2011.

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