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Government of Jamaica


PIOJ’s ICDIMP moved Jamaica forward towards climate resilience

January 3, 2023

The Improving Climate Data Information Management Project (ICDIMP) project has moved Jamaica towards greater climate resilience. This was reported at the August 30 closing ceremony and workshop for the project which ran for seven years in the PIOJ. Among the accomplishments noted is the network of 35 automatic stations for the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ) and installation of 55 hydro-met stations for the Water Resources Authority (WRA).

Acknowledging the achievements, guest speaker, State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Marsha Smith, credited the partnership of the Climate Investment Fund and the World Bank by saying, “I love it when a plan comes together. We need, no longer, to rely on outdated assumptions. We have upgraded and modernised the hydro-met network, trained persons, developed supporting tools and facilitated the completion of climate projections.”

In his message, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC), Senator Matthew Samuda, said that the credible data produced by the climate technologies that are now in place is helping to de-risk investments in Jamaica, and that will lead to more advantageous financing arrangements.
He said, “Our weather monitoring systems are unlocking information that our planners and developers need for Jamaica to get grants and loans at concessionary rates to adapt our industries and sectors to the climate changes that are coming. This is an investment in poverty reduction and sustainability.”

Representative of the World Bank, Mr Federico Beckley, said that the work of PIOJ demonstrated country leadership and ownership of a highly technical project and the result is a receptive environment for further work.
Looking forward, Minister Smith said that the next step is to get the private sector more involved in the climate change agenda. This, she noted, was the time to apply more resources to expand knowledge about the impact of climates on the productive sectors.

Minister Smith said, “Our climate resilience programme has set ambitious mitigation targets. We not only need to translate scientific data, but move towards more tailored climate information services to meet the growing needs of end users. We need more precise adaptation planning and more sector based climate research. For example, the soil moisture gauges mean different things to different stakeholders.”

Taking stock of the project, PIOJ Deputy Director General, Sustainable Development and Social Planning, Claire Bernard said that the project started with funding from government and external sources of US$7.8 million to improve the quality and use of climate data information for effective planning as outlined in Vision 2030 Jamaica national Development Plan. It was a partnership of the PIOJ with the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ); the Water Resources Authority (WRA); Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA); Ministry of Health and Wellness; the Climate Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

In his report, Project Manager, Mr Lehome Johnson, acknowledged that the high level of cooperation by partners from the start of the project was integral to the achievements. Funding was through the Climate Investment Funds supplied through the World Bank Group.
An early success was the publishing of the 2015 State of the Jamaican Climate Report which was tailored for policymakers and professions that use climate and weather data. Since then, the project has modernised data collection that is related to climate, and this has had an impact on reports being done in tourism, health and safety, and irrigation.

By way of example, ODPEM and municipalities were engaged in a partnership with the ICDIMP that produced disaster risk management plans for all parishes. A total of 130 persons were trained in climate change management and first aid.

In addition, 15 health facilities were assessed for climate vulnerabilities and this information has been integrated into the existing Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) Smart Healthcare Programme and a plan with the projected costs has been prepared.

The project provided training for technicians at the MSJ and WRA and also volunteers who monitor and maintain the equipment to ensure that the data flows consistently. Mr Johnson highlighted the impact that the project is having on Montego Bay, as the discharge of rivers into the harbour are now being monitored along with sea level.

The project also contributed to the improvement of the ICT GIS Infrastructure network that is managed by the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMP). The sector is now poised to enable climate and geographical data to be modelled together and this will improve the quality of information that is used to make decisions.

The major investment of the project was the procurement and installation of the custom built Doppler radar at the MJ facility at Coopers Hill, St Andrew, which is expected to be commissioned in a few months.

Alongside the technical aspects of the IDCIMP programme, the project also sought to be aware of the receptiveness of the public for information about climate change. A 2015 Knowledge Attitude and Perception (KAP) survey indicated that 66.0 per cent of the population understood and recognized the term climate change. In 2021, the survey was repeated which showed that 86.0 per cent of the public is able to recognise the concept of climate change.