Communities Demand More Information on Climate Change

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) along with the Organization of American States (OAS) hosted the national workshop Vulnerability to Climate Change at the Community Level in Jamaica on Tuesday 3rd of November at the Knutsford Court Hotel Kingston.

The workshop conducted was to share the findings of the OAS Community Climate Adaptation and Awareness Survey. This included the observation of the changing climatic conditions among residents within the fishing and farming communities of Black River and Flagaman in St. Elizabeth and Whitehouse and Darliston in Westmoreland.

The findings revealed that the communities were severely affected by climate change and the major factors included the unpredictability of the weather and man-made destruction. The issues of longer drought periods, heavy rainfall, deforestation and pollution all contribute to the adverse effect on the livelihood of farmers and fishermen. One farmer stated that all of this was a cause for concern “One time we as farmers could predict what we could plant now that we have less rain, the season is unpredictable”. It was also noted that the communities were aware of the effects of climate change however, they demanded that more public education needed to be conducted on the subject matter.

Other issues of concern raised in the workshop were the need for more data collection to enable agencies to make informed decisions regarding climate change. The data collected by the various agencies will facilitate more robust analysis and better long and short term planning to help minimize the effects of climate change. The Director of OAS Dr. Joan Neil said that the agencies need to further educate the communities on best practice initiatives and adaptation techniques to assist them in dealing with the ongoing changes of the climatic conditions.

The aim of the workshop was to present the level of climate change knowledge and awareness in selected vulnerable fishing and farming communities with a view to bridging the knowledge gap through the design of sector-focused public education campaign.

Contact: Kimberley Weller, Information Officer,