Jamaica Information Services
Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations' Development Programme (UNDP), Akiko Fujii, has stressed that the lives of women and children, globally, are being negatively affected by climate change.
Ms. Fujii noted that changes in weather patterns have affected the physical growth and educational status of many children.
"Climate change can have quite a huge impact on all aspects of human development. Climate change affects the entire world, whatever you do in Jamaica can affect the world, because we are living in the same planet," Ms. Fujii told JIS News.
In providing statistics on the effects of climate change on the livelihood of humans, universally, Ms. Fujii pointed out that in Ethiopia about 50 per cent of children born during flood periods were likely to become malnourished.
She also noted that in India in the 1990s, about 70 per cent of girls missed primary education during the drought period, as it took a prolonged period for the infants to fetch firewood which had become a scarcity as a result of the change in weather cycles.
The UNDP representative commended Jamaica and the region for measures to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.
"But we have to keep in mind that once we stop our efforts, we would hamper all our achievements," she asserted.
President of the Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals (JIEP), Marcia Creary, agreed with Ms. Fujii and noted that climate change was already affecting the livelihood of Jamaicans.
Ms. Creary pointed to the decline in fish stock, which is affecting the financial gains of fishermen, as an area that has suffered due to climate change.
"From a positive perspective, insurance companies may oblige companies or homeowners who put in place environmental safeguards to combat these changes," Ms. Creary explained.
Ms. Fujii, however, emphasised that climate change education was tantamount, as the long-term significant change in the expected patterns of weather conditions was inhibiting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015.
"Climate change hampers efforts to deliver the MDGs progress, not only in reducing extreme poverty but in health, nutrition, education and other areas," Ms. Fujii told JIS News.
In an effort to create a greater awareness of the subject, JIEP will host its Fourth Conference on the Environment on 'Climate Change: Caribbean Response' at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, May 26-27.
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