His Excellency Ambassador Raymond Wolfe,
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations,
on the Thematic Debate on Climate Change,
13 February, 2008
My delegation welcomes the opportunity to participate in this thematic debate on Climate Change. Jamaica aligns itself with the Statements delivered by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Grenada on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Barbados on behalf of CARICOM. We also welcome the statements delivered by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Mayor Bloomberg which confirm the need for urgent and decisive action on Climate Change.
Earlier reports have now become undisputable; the evidence irrefutable. Climate change is a fact which we cannot continue to deny and together we must act, as failure to do so will ultimately result in our demise. Last year, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that climate change is likely to significantly undermine the efforts of developing countries in their pursuit of sustainable development and the achievement of global development benchmarks such as the Millennium Development Goals.
National impact and response
The vast majority of us agree that climate change poses a clear and present danger to development prospects and the territorial existence of small island developing states (SIDS) such as Jamaica. The adverse effects of climate change with which we continue to grapple such as beach erosion, sea-level rise as well as the alarming frequency and intensity of severe weather patterns and events such as hurricanes and floods, have caused us to shift focus from our development agenda to relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. During the last three years alone, Jamaica and other CARICOM countries have been hit by five major hurricanes resulting in significant loss of lives and livelihood, damage to property and infrastructure and to major productive sectors such as agriculture and tourism, as well as the evacuation and relocation of several affected communities.
The implementation of appropriate adaptation strategies has now become crucial as we seek to confront some of the challenges posed by climate change. To this extent, Jamaica has launched a programme to increase the use of renewable energy to 10% of total energy by 2010 as part of the effort to reduce our total dependence on fossil fuels for energy production.
I am pleased to note, Mr. President, that during the recently concluded meeting in Bali, Jamaica was appointed to the Board of the Adaptation Fund. I should hasten to add that Jamaica is also one of ten countries in which a community-based adaptation project is soon to be implemented under the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme to reduce vulnerability and enhance the capacity of selected communities to adapt to Climate change.
Jamaica has embarked on an ambitious programme of achieving developed country status by the year 2030 and in order to accomplish this, the Government firmly believes that the development, diffusion and transfer of clean, less carbon intensive technologies along with the building of institutional and human capacities will be critical to this process.
Towards a post-2012 Framework
The Jamaican delegation fully supports calls made in other quarters for Annex I Parties to the UNFCCC to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in keeping with the longstanding principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We support the urgent pursuit of a second commitment period whereby Annex I Parties would undertake significant reductions in GHGs and are of the view that negotiations to this end must be concluded by the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen in 2009, thus ensuring that there are no gaps between the end of the first commitment period and the commencement of the second. While the Bali Action Plan is not as time-bound and goal-specific as some had hoped, it sets a process in motion to deliver a post-2012 agreement and outlines an international a strategy for inter alia, developing a shared vision for a long-term global goal to reduce emissions, enhancing action on adaptation as well as on technology, including an agreement to jump-start a strategic programme to shore up investment for the transfer of both mitigation and adaptation technologies to developing countries.
The potential for technologies to play key roles in domestic and global climate change monitoring, mitigation and adaptation strategies is enormous and therefore, the transfer of climate-friendly technologies as well as the provision of new and additional financial resources should be given high priority on the international agenda taking into account the needs of developing countries.
Report of the SG: The UN at Work
We note the Report of the
Secretary-General (A/62/644) on UN Activities in Climate Change, that the
various Agencies and Programmes of the UN in collaboration with Member States at
the national and global levels have taken a collaborative approach to address
this multidimensional challenge. Mr. President, several
years ago, upon testing a new breed of horses in Canada, researchers found that
one horse could pull an eight-ton load. When they teamed two horses together,
they anticipated that the horses would pull 16 or 18 tons. To their overwhelming
surprise, they pulled a 30-ton load.
This simple illustration of synergism, Mr. President, drives home the point that by working together in a broad global alliance, we can confront and overcome our greatest challenges.
My delegation sincerely hopes that this thematic debate and other such deliberative fora will serve to add political impetus to the existing framework for addressing climate change within the context of the UNFCCC and not diverge into a parallel process. It is also my hope that it will spur the international community to urgent and concrete action NOW. We owe it to ourselves, but more so to future generations.
I thank you, Mr. President.