Jamaica signs Paris agreement on climate change

Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, joins representatives of over 150 countries who signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Friday, April 22, at a special event convened by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.

Fittingly, the signing ceremony coincided with the celebration of Earth Day – a day earmarked annually for global recognition of the need for protection of the environment.

The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at the Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015, signals the commitment of the international community to combat climate change and its wide-ranging effects.

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Minister Johnson Smith stated, ”The Agreement is especially important to Small Island Developing States, like Jamaica, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Taking steps to address climate change at the national level, and supporting ambitious action at the global level, is central to Jamaica’s ongoing efforts to the achievement of sustainable development.”

Jamaica’s national energy policy, which formed the core of Jamaica’s submission to the global effort, commits the country to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 7.8% of current levels.

By signing the Agreement, Jamaica gains access to technology transfer and financial, technical and capacity building support for adaptation and mitigation activities to address the impact of climate change.

The number of countries signing the Paris Agreement is expected to surpass the previous record for the number of signatories on the day an international agreement is open for signing. The record is held by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which was signed in Montego Bay in 1982.

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