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Jamaica optimistic about suitable replacement to Kyoto Protocol

MEMBERS of the Government’s Climate Change Division are optimistic that consensus will be reached on a legally-binding replacement to the Kyoto Protocol at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris, France later this year.

Jeffery Spooner, director of the Meteorological Services of Jamaica, told editors and reporters at the

Jamaica Observer’s Monday Exchange that one of the objectives of the conference is to achieve a universal agreement to cut carbon emissions and provide financing to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that may suffer the ill effects of the carbon-induced climate change.

“Over the years we have had the climate change convention, which was not a legally binding instrument and which had no targets that were realised. As such the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated. Then, the targets that were set were sufficient for (that period),” Spooner said.

But, according to Spooner, as the emissions of greenhouse gases in particular continue to spiral, the Kyoto Protocol was found to be insufficient to reverse the effects of climate change. Further, some developed countries that had pledged to make financing available to SIDS have failed to follow through on their promise.

“As such, the negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol have started, and the Ad Hoc working group on the Durham Platform for Enhanced Action [ADP] was implemented to develop a protocol — another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties. The negotiations are continuing with a view of concluding negotiations in Paris,” he said.

Spooner added that he hopes to see ambitious targets to reverse the impacts of climate change.

“This means significant cuts in the emission of greenhouse gases is very important to this agreement. It should be legally binding so parties that are committed are held to their targets. It should be ambitious, therefore, the financial resources pledged in Copenhagen should be legally binding. The loss and damage and the slow onset of climate change should be looked at,” he said.

He added that, given the far-reaching implications of climate change, focus should be shifted from only adapting to the change, to reversing and mitigating the effects while investing in technologies that will aid adaptation.

Asked what was the basis of the Jamaica’s optimism, Albert Daley — who heads the Climate Change Division — pointed to what he described as the commitment of global players, most notably the United States, China and the European Union.

“One of the greatest critics [of the climate change phenomenon] has been the US, but they are less critical now. They are committing to reduce greenhouse gases, so they are now onboard. If one of the greatest critics and the greateat country in the world is on board, then we are hopeful that there will be some sort of agreement in terms of greenhouse gas emissions that will benefit SIDS,” he told the Exchange.

Daley explained that one of the aims of the new agreement is to get large emitters of greenhouse gases to commit to serious reduction in order to stave off a possible global temperature increase.

“If not, we’re heading to a scenario where our temperatures could rise anywhere between two and six degrees centigrade over the next 100 years. If that happens, we’ll be in serious problems. That is why we want this agreement being negotiated to be such that countries commit to substantial reduction in greenhouse gases so that this looming problem will be much less of the problem it has the potential to be,” he said.

Meanwhile, Technical Officer Dr Orville Grey said that the Jamaican delegation has “no choice but to be optimistic”.

“It’s going to take a lot of back and forth. It’s going to take a lot of dicussion in the sidehalls… but based on the outcome of the last session in Geneva, there are signs that people are willing to sit at the table to have an agreement that will have an impact,” Dr Grey added.

Gerald Lindo, a technical officer in the division, argued that getting people to embrace energy efficiency should also be a priority.

“Get people to embrace energy efficiency and set targets for people to cut back overall. In setting the final limit of global warming, it is at two degrees, but according to the Alliance of Small Island States, based on what we’re seeing, we can’t go beyond 1.5 and to get to six. It verges on the apocalyptic,” he said.

Jamaica wants global reggae dominance back

For decades, the sound of Jamaica has been reggae, the infectious, uniquely syncopated music that transformed the small Caribbean island into a cultural powerhouse.

But the genre’s success has taken it far beyond its roots, and now many in Jamaica worry that reggae-lovers abroad are forgetting the motherland where it was born.

“Reggae was given to the world by Jamaica so nobody can or ever should discourage anyone overseas from making this music. But we think there should be acknowledgment that reggae was created in Jamaica,” said Michael “Ibo” Cooper, a musician who is chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association. Read more

Jamaica’s food security a sham

FOR years we have heard the rhetoric of different factions of the agriculture sector talk about food security. But is Jamaica’s food security getting better or worse? This is surely a question for the pundits to answer honestly.

However, the kernel of food security is that all people should have access to sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences. However, with the huge food import bill, rising cost of food, and increased levels of poverty, are we in a regressive mode on the trek to food security or I am just not seeing the vision?

Food security has implications for national security and productivity, and as such is not a matter to pussyfoot around. Given the context, a very straightforward question is, are we a food-secure or insecure nation? Anecdotally, I believe the pendulum is predominant in the insecure corner. This has coerced my imagination to concede that a food security effort in Jamaica is a notorious sham.

Agriculture education is the most important step towards food security. However, agriculture education in Jamaica, and by extension the Caribbean, is an utter disgrace. The training received in high schools and at the tertiary levels do very little to cultivate a mindset to bring about radical management and innovative practices necessary to help transform the sector. Most of the institutions lack proper lab facilities for research in areas such as tissue culture, genetics, biotechnology, and microbiology. With those realities one would not be alarmed that, despite the infamous Blue Mountain Coffee globally, the last time an improved variety of coffee was introduced was the 1980s. Yet the inferior varieties planned are plagued by leaf rust disease, which causes significant loss in revenues to both small and large farmers yearly. Yet we boast of our colleges, universities and government research such as Bodles and Organe River research stations.

There are also inadequate technical people with expertise to guide students into groundbreaking and applied research. In fact, most of our institutions still rely heavily on the cutlass, fork and hoe to teach students about agricultural practices. Very few students ever get exposed to in-depth understanding of the science behind things like plant and animal breeding, hydroponics, greenhouse technology, and advances in areas like poultry and pig rearing, which is one of the reasons Jamaica’s food security hangs in the wind and our competitiveness index dwindles

As food security becomes more feted with rhetoric and lip service, it is unfortunate that a basic food item such as egg is taxed and the chicken is allowed to have ‘free rein’. Further, we have gone silent on the production of liquid eggs for the service and productive sectors that utilise a vast amount of liquid eggs. Is importing the way out?

We cannot be food secure when milk and eggs are not part of our school-feeding programme. A child’s brain cannot be truly developed on bag juice or syrup. We cannot be secure when a staple crop like cassava is just used to advance the interest of a select few. A versatile crop such as cassava can be grown on marginal lands, can be used in the production of pig, chicken and other animal feed as a substitution for corn. This can be achieved with the right technology and basic agronomic principles used in other parts of the world, like Brazil and Africa. Farmers can easily get an average of 70 tonnes of cassava to the hectare than the 20 tonnes they get currently on an average in Jamaica.

We cannot be food secure when agencies such as RADA are sending one extension officer to cover an area with 500 farmers. We cannot be food secure when many youth in our rural communities sit on the corner when a vast amount of land sits idle. If we are serious about rural development and growth in agriculture can we start engaging these youth?

We cannot be food secure when we boast about exporting banana at the expense of our farmers. We need to start focusing on local consumption of ripe bananas, forge partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education and local banana producers so that bananas are in every school in Jamaica. Initiatives such as this will benefit students and boost production, and farmers will get a better return.

How about an agriculture stock exchange? We have coffee and yam to start with. We can start producing again. All we need is the political will and commitment from all stakeholders. Failure to take radical and useful approach will result in both food and national insecurity.

Jamaica is 1st in Caribbean to name human trafficking monitor

Jamaica became on Tuesday the first Caribbean country to appoint a national rapporteur on human trafficking.

The Ministry of National Security announced that Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison will fill the new post.

The Cabinet approved Gordon Harrison’s designation to “enhance Jamaica’s anti-trafficking profile and exhibits the seriousness with which the government of Jamaica regards this issue,” the ministry said in a statement.

One of the primary functions of the national rapporteur will be to create a more objective reporting system on the issue.

Gordon Harrison will have the authority to obtain from the relevant authorities, including the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, any information necessary to carry out her duties.

She is expected to conduct independent investigations of reports of alleged instances of human trafficking as the need arises, to report on human rights violations and to provide an analytical overview of the situation in trafficking in an annual report to the government.

Gordon Harrison, an attorney, was appointed as Children’s Advocate in January 2012. Before that, she worked as deputy director of the DPP.

Jamaica want to recruit Tottenham’s Danny Rose, Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon and Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom ahead of Copa America

Danny Rose heads a list of English-based players that Jamaica are keen to recruit for this summer’s Copa America.

The Tottenham defender, who qualifies for Jamaica through his grandfather, would have the chance to play senior international football against Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in the group stages of the competition, which will be held in Chile in June and July.

This is the South American equivalent of the European Championships, with Mexico and Jamaica also invited to this edition.

Rose has represented England at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level, as well as playing for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics but has never won a senior cap. Standard Sport understands intermediaries have been attempting to make contact with Rose to discuss playing for Jamaica. Although the 24-year-old was named in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the matches against Norway and Switzerland earlier this season, he did not make it on to the pitch and has not been selected since. Jamaica are keen to explore English football in greater depth to try to create a stronger squad, first for the Copa America, but then to qualify for the World Cup in Russia in three years’ time.

The Caribbean side reached the finals in France in 1998, with their squad containing players like Robbie Earle, Frank Sinclair and Marcus Gayle, who had substantial experience in the English top flight.

Under German coach Winfried Schaefer, who led Cameroon to Africa Cup of Nations success in 2002, Jamaica believe they can return to that level and plan to speak to many of the eligible players in England.

Jason Puncheon, the Crystal Palace winger, is also believed to be on the radar along with Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom, who is on loan at West Brom. Rose has been playing regularly for Spurs at left-back and his good form puts him in contention for England — although the man in question believes he has little chance of making the squad for the fixtures against Lithuania and Italy later this month.

Speaking to Standard Sport recently, Rose said: “I’m going to be honest: I don’t see myself anywhere near the international squad. It’s just how it is.

“Leighton Baines is quite rightly the first choice, then Ryan Bertrand is doing very well at Southampton. Kieran Gibbs and Luke Shaw are ahead of me, too, and I’m a big fan of Aaron Cresswell at West Ham.

“I don’t see myself anywhere near. I was there at the start of the season through other people’s injuries. It doesn’t bother me. Tottenham is my top priority and as long as I do well for them I’ll be very happy.

“Am I playing well enough to be in the squad? I’m not sure. I know I’m more consistent than last season, when I was a bit hit and miss, and I’m trying to put that right.

“I can do that by limiting the mistakes I make or trying to chip in with a goal or an assist here and there, so I’ve improved from last season. If I can get better season after season, then I will have a good career.”