No rat­i­fi­ca­tion of Paris Agree­ment be­fore next year

Jamaica Gleaner - - EARTH TODAY -

THE MIN­ISTRY of Eco­nomic Growth and Job Cre­ation has sought to quiet con­cerns over Ja­maica’s fail­ure to rat­ify the Paris Agree­ment, ahead of the 22nd Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (COP) to the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, be­ing held in Mar­rakech this month.

“We will be at the COP, and we ne­go­ti­ate as a part of a block, so we will still be able in the dif­fer­ent bod­ies – the Group of 77 and China and the Al­liance of Small Is­land States – to have our voices be heard there. So we will still have an op­por­tu­nity to in­flu­ence,” said Colonel Oral Khan, chief tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor in the min­istry.

“So yes, we wanted to be there as one that has rat­i­fied, but be­cause of the pro­cesses that we have to go through, we are re­gret­tably not there,” he added.

Khan’s re­sponse comes in the wake of a re­cent cau­tion from Dr James Fletcher, Saint Lu­cia’s for­mer min­is­ter of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and for­mer head of the CARICOM Task Force on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment.

“Given that the Paris Agree­ment will en­ter into force in the Mar­rakech meet­ing ... if you haven’t rat­i­fied the Paris Agree­ment, then re­ally you can­not be at the ta­ble de­ter­min­ing rules and pro­ce­dures and ev­ery­thing else,” Fletcher told The Gleaner at the re­cent Caribbean Re­new­able En­ergy Con­fer­ence in Mi­ami.

“If you have not rat­i­fied the agree­ment, then you don’t have a voice at the meet­ing. There will be CARICOM coun­tries there (who share sim­i­lar chal­lenges) and who The Jonathan Guy-Gladding paint­ing ti­tled 1.5 to Stay Alive, which is counted among the artis­tic out­puts from the Caribbean’s 1.5 to Stay Alive cam­paign.

will speak on your be­half, but I don’t think it is a po­si­tion you want to be in be­cause you can­not ar­tic­u­late your own con­cerns,” he added.

Against this back­ground, Fletcher – well re­spected in cli­mate change ne­go­ti­at­ing cir­cles

and who was pa­tron of the 1.5 to Stay Alive cam­paign run by re­gional part­ners, in­clud­ing Panos Caribbean, the Caribbean Com­mu­nity Cli­mate Change Cen­tre and the Caribbean Devel­op­ment Bank, last year and into this year – urged those is­lands James Fletcher

that had not yet rat­i­fied to do so.

Ja­maica is one of five CARICOM mem­ber states that have not yet done so. The oth­ers are Haiti, Montser­rat, Suri­name and Trinidad and Tobago.


Mean­while, Fletcher has itemised sig­nif­i­cant emis­sions re­duc­tion and the free­ing of cli­mate fi­nance flows as key ar­eas on which Caribbean is­lands – counted among those most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change, which threat­ens ex­treme weather events, the likes of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, which rav­aged sev­eral is­lands re­cently – should push for ac­tion at this COP.

“... the sit­u­a­tion is omi­nous; the pro­jec­tions are all show­ing that our area will be one of the

ARMED WITH com­ments from the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral (AG), Ja­maica is look­ing at next year to rat­ify the Paris Agree­ment, which sets the frame­work for the global re­sponse to cli­mate change.

“We have re­ceived the com­ments of the AG, which point out the obli­ga­tions the coun­try would have un­der the agree­ment. We now have to com­plete a series of con­sul­ta­tions with the var­i­ous stake­hold­ers that would have a crit­i­cal part to play in meet­ing those obli­ga­tions,” re­vealed Colonel Oral Khan, chief tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor in the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Growth and Job Cre­ation.

“So we are go­ing to be en­ter­ing into that pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tion be­fore we seek the for­mal ap­proval to rat­ify. We do not an­tic­i­pate any hur­dles; it is just now a process that we have to go through to en­sure that we do not leave any­body be­hind. When we rat­ify, ev­ery­body must un­der­stand their obli­ga­tions,” he added. Among other things, Ja­maica will need to sat­isfy the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (UNFCCC) re­quire­ment for na­tion­ally de­ter­mined con­tri­bu­tions (NDCs) to re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions, which fuel global warm­ing.

“We al­ready sub­mit­ted our INDCs (In­tended Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions) and we are to con­firm they are to move from INDCs to NDCs. So we have to for­mally no­tify the UNFCCC of our NDCs,” Khan ex­plained.


Mi­nori Rus­sell con­trib­uted her own mu­si­cal tal­ents to the 1.5 to Stay Alive cam­paign.

hard­est hit by cli­mate change and we don’t have the funds to adapt,” he noted.

“We are re­ally are say­ing to our res­i­dents that they are in for a very bleak fu­ture when we should be say­ing, hav­ing signed the (Paris) agree­ment, we can now as­sure that the cli­mate fi­nance is go­ing to flow and ac­tion is go­ing to be taken to re­duce green­house gases to get us close to 1.5,” he added.

“We are not in a good place where bend­ing that tem­per­a­ture curve is con­cerned and mak­ing fi­nance more read­ily avail­able to SIDS (small is­land de­vel­op­ing states) is one way to get there,” he said.

Among other things, the Paris Agree­ment seeks to hold “the in­crease in the global

There are, too, a num­ber of pro­ce­dural mat­ters to deal with “such as some re­port­ing re­quire­ments that will have to be met”, he noted. Ja­maica’s adap­ta­tion strat­egy and ac­tion plans are among those items that will need to be re­ported on. Al­ready, the is­land has iden­ti­fied a num­ber of pri­or­ity sec­tors for these plans, in­clud­ing water, health, tourism, hu­man set­tle­ment and coastal re­sources, in ad­di­tion to agri­cul­ture, forestry and en­ergy.

“We will have to keep the UNFCCC up­dated on our steps to im­ple­ment and in prepar­ing those an­nual re­ports that we have to make,” Khan said.


Aaron Silk was one of the artistes who con­trib­uted their cre­ative en­er­gies to the 1.5 to Stay Alive cam­paign.

av­er­age tem­per­a­ture to well be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els and to pur­sue ef­forts to limit the tem­per­a­ture in­crease to 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius above prein­dus­trial lev­els, recog­nis­ing that this would sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the risks and im­pacts of cli­mate change”.

It was a goal fought hard for by Caribbean is­lands who put the weight of ne­go­tia­tors such as Fletcher and the cre­ative en­er­gies of mu­si­cians and artists from across the re­gion – in­clud­ing Ja­maicans Aaron Silk and Mi­nori Rus­sell, Saint Lu­cian poet Ken­del Hip­polyte and artist Jonathan Gladding – be­hind the 1.5 To Stay Alive cam­paign.

At the same time, the chief tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor in­di­cated that min­istries, such as the Min­istry of Sci­ence, En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy, will have “a sig­nif­i­cant role to play”.

“A lot of our tar­gets in the NDCs are things that fall un­der the en­ergy pol­icy in terms of switch­ing to re­new­able en­ergy and so on,” Khan noted. Once the con­sul­ta­tions are fi­nalised, they will re­port to Cab­i­net for the re­quired ap­proval to pro­ceed with the in­stru­ments of rat­i­fi­ca­tion.

“We have to sat­isfy the Cab­i­net that we have en­gaged all the stake­hold­ers so they have a fair ap­pre­ci­a­tion of what is in­volved,” Khan said. He has, how­ever, cau­tioned that the process will take some time.

“We can’t just wish it and it is done,” Khan told The Gleaner. “The time of the year we are in and ap­proach­ing and with mem­bers of our Cli­mate Change Di­vi­sion par­tic­i­pat­ing in the COP (the 22nd Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties to the UNFCCC in Morocco), that kind of slows our process down in terms of our re­sources to un­der­take and lead in some of the con­sul­ta­tions.”

Added Khan: “So for the month of Novem­ber, we are go­ing to be pretty much tied up and the en­vi­ron­ment in De­cem­ber will not be con­ducive to con­sul­ta­tions. So we could end up see­ing the process drag into next year.”


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