Photo above: Jamaica’s Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz. Photo credit: JIS.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mar. 22, (CMC) – Jamaica, today, released two studies that chart a course for the country towards sustainable development, through implementing inclusive green economy policies.
The studies, Green Economy Scoping Study for Jamaica and Vision 2030 Jamaica and Green Economy, were produced by the Jamaica government and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
The scoping study focuses on five key economic sectors — agriculture, tourism, construction, energy, and water and sewerage — while the policy-briefing document demonstrates the linkages between Jamaica’s existing national long-term development plan and inclusive green economy.
The documents recommend policies and government actions that can help improve resource efficiency and adaptability to climate change, create jobs, and attract investment across sectors of the economy, fostering the transition from a high level of indebtedness and dependence to resilience.
The recommendations build on Jamaica’s existing policies and are designed to respond to the fiscal and social conditions in the country. The studies also highlight leadership from the private sector and civil society.
“In keeping with the global movement towards a green economy, Jamaica’s study demonstrates that the greening of economies is a new engine of growth; that it is a net generator of decent jobs, which is a vital strategy for the elimination of persistent poverty,” said the Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz.
“The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments in a transition to a green economy. Notably, it reiterates the need for public-private partnerships”, he added.
The studies were presented during the meeting, Green Economy: A Tool for Sustainable Development, hosted by the Jamaica government with support of UNEP, through a European Union-funded project, Advancing Caribbean States Sustainable Development Through Green economy (ACSSD-GE).
The launch was attended by the Barbados Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Denis Lowe; the head of Cooperation of the European Union in Jamaica, Jesus Baguena; the United Nations Resident Representative to Jamaica, Bruno Pouezat; and Vincent Sweeney, UNEP Sub-Regional Director for the Caribbean.
The Green Economy Scoping Study for Jamaica focuses on the main foreign exchange earners, the largest consumers of water and significant energy consumers, which account for more than 22 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and more than 33 per cent of the labour force.
The authors say, they provide a useful starting point for greening the economy.
The study states that transforming the energy sector in Jamaica is key to advancing towards an inclusive green economy in the country, given that all other sectors depend on energy.
Currently 90 per cent of energy is supplied by imported petroleum, leaving the country vulnerable to external shocks. Improving energy efficiency, reducing demand, and increasing the supply of renewable energy in the national energy mix can contribute to resilience and stability in the economy while simultaneously making it greener.
“Jamaica is well positioned to rapidly advance to a low-carbon economy, there is strong leadership from both the government and the private sector with many innovative initiatives happening on the ground, and many key resources already in place,” said Leo Heileman, the UNEP Director and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the area of agriculture, the scoping study makes recommendations to support this sector — currently employing almost 20 per cent of the population — to become more profitable and resilient in the face of climate change, through improved and diversified sources of water and energy, research, and the adoption of sustainable practices.
As a country with a strong tourism industry that depends heavily on environmental quality, Jamaica must plan for sea level rise and other impacts of climate change.
The publication also recommends enhancing energy and water efficiency in the sector and supporting small, medium and micro-enterprises, in order to increase the profitability of the industry and boost the distribution of benefits.