JAMAICA IS preparing to take advantage of what is seen as the next big thing in climate financing – the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – even as rising sea levels, warmer temperatures and extreme weather events remain a clear and present danger.
Head of the Climate Change Division (CCD), UnaMay Gordon, revealed Tuesday that the island is, within two weeks, to ink an agreement with the GCF for a longed-for readiness grant.
The grant, valued at US$300,000, was applied for more than two years ago to help prepare the island to take advantage of financing under the GCF.
“We came back (from the GCF structured dialogue in Belize) with the grant agreement. We are just doing the finishing touches in terms of the account … . We should be signing very, very soon and when I say soon, I mean within the next two weeks at the most,” Gordon told The Gleaner from a workshop on integrating climate change into national and ministerial budgets, held at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
The Belize meeting took place between June 19 and 22, and afforded regional participants the chance to share experiences while directing their attention to identifying project opportunities, as well as project preparation and support needs under the GCF.
The signing of the Jamaica agreement will usher in 18 months of work that is expected to yield, among other things, the establishment of a GCF desk at the offices of the CCD.
“We will get a body just to handle GCF matters. Anybody, after that, who will want information on the GCF will have a go-to person – under guidance, of course – so they won’t need to be looking for UnaMay Gordon,” the CCD boss said.
The grant is also expected to yield a set of national stakeholder consultations and two projects ready for funding consideration.
“Before we went into Belize, we did a little country programme brief. We will validate that to ensure that the projects that we have already submitted will also meet the needs of the country and then we will develop from this readiness programme, a macro country programme for engagement with the GCF,” explained Gordon.
“We hope that we will engage either one or two consultants, local or international, to come to help us through that process and to provide guidance, especially from countries who have done this before. We hope as well that at the end of that, we will have two project profiles ready for submission to the GCF,”she added.
The CCD is the national designated authority for the GCF, which is mandated “to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, and to help adapt vulnerable societies to the unavoidable impacts of climate change”.
“Given the urgency and seriousness of the challenge,” the GCF notes on its website, “the fund is mandated to make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate change”.
Up to this month, the GCF had raised the equivalent of US$10.3 billion in pledges from 43 states.