Portia calls for integrated strategy to address climate change

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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has urged regional leaders to give serious consideration to the development of an integrated strategy to better address the effects of climate change, Jamaica’s Information Service reports.

She made the call during her presentation Tuesday at the first plenary session of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held at PABEXPO here in the Cuban capital, Havana.

The prime minister told her Caribbean and Latin American counterparts that climate change is not a problem for tomorrow, but instead requires immediate attention, “based on the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility.”

“Climate change is not a scientific theory, which may occur in the future. Climate change is here and we face it now. It poses clear and present danger to our continued development and threatens to erode our hard won socio-economic gains,” she said.

She said, too, that weather activity in sections of the Eastern Caribbean in December 2013 was a prime example of the impact the phenomenon can have on small economies, noting that governments were forced to divert scarce resources to deal with emergency works.

Highlighting Jamaica’s work in the area of climate change mitigation, she told the summit that the country took the initiative in 2012 to establish a Ministry of Climate Change.

The ministry’s focus, she said, is to oversee policies and programmes to alleviate the devastating effects of the phenomenon and to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies for Jamaica’s vulnerable areas.

“We must never underestimate the potentially irreversible damage which a natural disaster can wreak on a small economy, even after pursuing sustained and responsible economic management policies,” the prime minister said.

The CELAC Summit, which was the largest political event to be hosted by Cuba in decades, attracted heads of state and Government from all 33 member nations. The leaders explored issues of intra-regional trade, sustainable development, science and technology, climate change, natural disasters, transportation, and social development, among other issues.

The forum was held under the theme: ‘The struggle against hunger, poverty and the inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean’.

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