Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, Dr Wayne Henry, has urged Jamaicans to improve the care of the natural environment, especially forests, as low resilience to rainfall and coastal erosion had directly contributed to a reduction in economic growth over the past 20 years.
Dr Henry said, “Over the past two decades, the Jamaican economy has lost roughly 1–2 per cent of GDP each year to such disasters. In November 2017, 4.5 hours of rainfall in the city of Montego Bay resulted in damage and losses of $36.8 million to the government. The losses cited did not include costs of damage or loss to property or other assets belonging to business persons in the area.”
Speaking on March 21 in Kingston at the Forestry Department’s forum to recognise the International Day of the Forest, Dr Henry also said that for Jamaica to develop sustainable cities and communities, forests should be incorporated into urban designs.
“The forest would not be the casualty of urbanization and development; instead, we could take advantage of the forests’ services in: ensuring food security, reducing per capita environmental impact, safeguarding air quality, building disaster resilience, aiding climate change mitigation and adaptation, and improving resource efficiency,” Dr Henry said.
Dr Henry also noted that the PIOJ will monitor the upcoming Jamaica–European Union Cooperation Programme, Addressing Environmental and Climate Change challenges through Improved Forest Management in Jamaica (IFMJ), which is valued at €16.15 million.
The 2018 theme of the International Day of the Forest was “Forests and Sustainable Cities” and the forum marked the 80th Anniversary of the Forestry Department.
Contact: Gwyneth Davidson, Communication Specialist
Telephone: 960-9339/906-4471-2/935-5042 (D)