Consultant with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Dr. Oscar Coto, says Jamaica has an opportunity to tap into international financing that can assist with its efforts at reducing the impacts of climate change. This, he said, can be accomplished through advancement of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Programme of Activities (PoA) as well as Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs). “If through a supported-type NAMA, the country can get recognition of some incremental critical costs that are involved in delivering some climate change mitigation, through activities in the country…those resources would be used to support the scaling up of (projects) for a better energy sector, more renewable energy, more efficiency within the society (and ultimately) better living for Jamaicans,” he said. Dr. Coto was speaking to JIS News following a workshop on potential for Programmatic CDM and NAMAs in Jamaica, at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on April 3. The CDM is one of the ‘project-based’ mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol designed to promote projects that reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC). PoAsrefer tovoluntary co-ordinated actions by a private or public entity that lead to GHG reductions through a number of CDM project activities. NAMAs are seen primarily as a way for developing countries – with financial and technological support from the international community – to make progress in reducing their own domestic GHG emissions. OLADE is providing support to the Government through the provision of technical assistance in order to contribute in the identification of opportunities for the development of CDM Programme of Activities as well as NAMAs. This is in keeping with Government’s activities to reduce the impacts of climate change within the energy sector. As such, Dr. Coto has prepared a report based on a ‘Study on the Identification of Potential Project Portfolios Associated to Programmatic CDM and NAMAs in Jamaica’, which he discussed during the workshop. In his presentation, Dr. Coto pointed to current trends to move from strict carbon financing to a broader concept of climate financing, which includes the NAMAs as an opportunity to assist countries in enabling mitigation activities, both at the policy as well as the project/programme level. Carbon financeis a new branch of environmental finance, which explores the financial implications of living in a carbon-constrained world, in which emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases(GHGs) carry a price. In his report, Dr. Coto noted that it is clear that the country has enacted a series of visions, policies and action plans that can contribute significantly to prepare Jamaica for climate financing opportunities. He argued that from the climate mitigation perspective, renewable energy interventions seem to be very cost effective in Jamaica, and associated climate financing could be attracted to assist in removing some of the perceived gaps associated with the regulatory challenges as well as in mobilising financing and guarantees for private sector participation. “It is becoming clear that the paths for most of the identified and discussed potentials for emission reductions in Jamaica lie within the boundaries of the NAMA mechanisms under discussion in the UNFCCC as a vehicle for climate financing,” the report reads. The report recommends that the country needs to engage in strengthening its capabilities to understand the depth of new climate financing opportunities and risks, assess if the emerging mechanisms of climate financing may be attractive to supplement and scale up on-going activities, and from there pursue opportunities that are cost effective and with ample sustainable development benefits for the country.
At the Caribbean Urban Forum 2018, which was held at the University of Technology (UTech) on June 27, Mr. Shaw said enacting the new building code is imperative for the development of the nation. Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government is in the final stages of enacting a new building code aimed at reducing the vulnerability of Jamaica’s built environment. “This will ensure public safety and welfare, minimise damage caused by natural and man-made hazards, as well as prevent squatter settlements and promote sustainable development,” Mr. Shaw said. Story Highlights Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Government is in the final stages of enacting a new building code aimed at reducing the vulnerability of Jamaica’s built environment.At the Caribbean Urban Forum 2018, which was held at the University of Technology (UTech) on June 27, Mr. Shaw said enacting the new building code is imperative for the development of the nation.“This will ensure public safety and welfare, minimise damage caused by natural and man-made hazards, as well as prevent squatter settlements and promote sustainable development,” Mr. Shaw said.The Caribbean Urban Forum is a three-day conference designed to address specific policy issues within the Caribbean urban sector, in an effort to further advance land-use planning and urban management within the region. It is being held between June 26 and 29 under the theme ‘Forming the Informal’.Participants include land-use practitioners, policymakers, academics and allied professionals interested in urban and management issues within the Caribbean.Mr. Shaw said he welcomes the three-day forum, as it will address the challenges regarding development within the Caribbean region, and present solutions.“The issue of informality, specifically in the context of social infrastructure development, continues to be a particularly challenging one for developing nations of the Caribbean. We continue to grapple with informal housing and inappropriate land use, as many of our citizens migrate to the urban spaces in search of economic and social opportunities,” the Minister said.Mr. Shaw commended UTech for conceptualizing such a forum designed to address urban and land-management issues.“The fact that we are in the sixth such staging is also commendable as UTech continues in its bid to provide the avenue for discussions among local and regional professionals, academics and policymakers on such a pivotal matter,” he said.
A week after New Brunswickers voted in a provincial election that proved to be a surprising cliffhanger, confusion remains over who will lead the province. But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to advocates and experts.The problem, says Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch, is that the rules that purport to govern what happens after an inconclusive election are unwritten conventions that don’t necessarily apply to New Brunswick.“If you want to have a fair and democratic legislature and a fair election … you need these rules written down,” says Conacher, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa.On election night, Premier Brian Gallant’s incumbent Liberals won 21 seats — one fewer than the Progressive Conservatives under Blaine Higgs. With 49 seats in the legislature, and two smaller parties with three seats each, neither major party has enough seats to form a majority.Still, Gallant has insisted that under an unwritten constitutional convention, incumbent premiers are always given the first opportunity to form a government by recalling the legislature and testing the confidence of elected members — even if the incumbent party has fewer seats than their rivals.Gallant has said the legislature will convene for a throne speech by Oct. 23 at the latest.Higgs has cited another convention, which states that the party with the most seats should be called on by the lieutenant-governor to form a government as soon as possible.The problem is that neither man is right, Conacher says.The conventions cited by Gallant and Higgs only apply to the jurisdictions where they have been used for years, he says.The last time New Brunswick had a minority government was almost 100 years ago, which means the province doesn’t have any of its own conventions to determine what should be done.“It’s unprecedented,” says Conacher. “So there is no tradition. There are no rules. There are no conventions.”The conventions established by Ottawa and the other provincial governments can provide guidance, but they are not considered definitive, he says.Having faced similar challenges in the past, the parliaments in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have all spelled out their post-election conventions in so-called cabinet manuals.“They haven’t had any problems with their minority government parliaments since,” says Conacher. “Why? Because everyone knows the rules.”If the cabinet and the legislature comply with these written rules for several years, then they become constitutional conventions.Peter Russell, one of Canada’s leading constitutional scholars, says cabinet manuals are a good idea.“It would reduce uncertainty, but not remove it,” says the University of Toronto professor emeritus.In Britain, for example, the cabinet manual clearly states that when an election does not result in a majority for a single party, the incumbent government is entitled “to wait until the new parliament has met to see if it can command the confidence of the House of Commons, but is expected to resign” if it becomes clear it is unlikely to secure enough support.If such a rule was in place, Russell says, New Brunswick’s Tory leader would be prevented from describing himself as “premier-elect,” a term that doesn’t really exist anyway because premiers are not directly elected.And if a government tried to violate one of those written conventions, the Speaker of the legislature and the lieutenant-governor would both be justified in saying no to the premier, Conacher says.But there’s a catch.Since cabinet manual rules are typically non-binding, Democracy Watch says some key rules should be made law, including rules about which party gets to try governing first, when the legislature will open and how a vote of non-confidence is defined.However, such laws would be difficult to pass, says Mark Walters, a professor of constitutional law at McGill University in Montreal.Conventions codified as legal rules would probably require a formal constitutional amendment, mainly because such a set of laws would affect the office of the lieutenant-governor — the Queen’s representative at the provincial level.“Perhaps the real obstacle to replacing the conventions with written legal rules is just the complexity of the task,” Walters said.“To move to a different system based upon clear and strict rules would really require wholesale constitutional change. It’s possible, but it would be a daunting task of constitutional writing that would open up many other aspects of our system of constitutional government to critical scrutiny.”Conacher says the eight rules Democracy Watch has contemplated at the provincial level would not require that much effort because each change could be enacted through a simple act of parliament.