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Holness calls for action on climate change-mitigation policies at summit

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has welcomed the announcement of the United States-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis (PACC) 2030.

The two core points of emphasis in the initiative are to strengthen energy security and promote climate adaptation and resilience.

PACC 2030 will see the US working with regional governments to identify new clean energy projects and provide technical assistance to make sure they are viable.

In his address at the 9th Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, Holness said that urgent access to climate finance remains a critical priority.

“The hemisphere has entered another hurricane season, a stark reminder of what could lie ahead for the next six months. For countries like Jamaica, which are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, global emissions must be capped to net zero,” he said, adding that adaptation and mitigation solutions must be implemented.

Holness said that access to financing for small and vulnerable economies, especially highly indebted middle-income countries, must be a priority towards recovery.

He said the Americas also has access to an abundance of agricultural supplies, renewable energy and other energy sources.

“We need greater intra-regional technical cooperation, trade and finance to harness these resources to make our hemisphere less vulnerable to global supply disruptions,” he reasoned.

Holness said the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict in Europe, the climate crisis and the consequential impact on supply chains, food and energy security have led to the erosion of hard-won developmental gains.

He said that although Jamaica has been able to see sustained growth over six quarters, predicted levels of growth for the region are not robust.

Blueprint for cooperation

“This ninth summit comes at a pivotal time in global history and if it is to fulfil the promise of the moment, it must serve as an opportunity to announce a new blueprint for regional cooperation,” he said.

Holness urged countries to endeavour to create a new regional order, with the same “lofty ambition” as the first summit in 1994.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said several countries in the region, including Jamaica, are faced with a skills gap that could become a “binding constraint on our growth horizon”.

“The region needs a thoughtful and coordinated approach in facilitating massive investments in human capital development, while at the same time pursuing near-shore policies to bring jobs to workers in their home countries,” Holness remarked.