Jamaica is taking steps to alleviate the impact of climate change, beginning with the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, and an agricultural sector that aims to be climate resilient.
Prior to the hurricanes of 2017, Jamaica was modernizing the grid to improve energy independence and better prepare for natural disasters. In 2004, Jamaica launched the Wigton Wind Farms, which the Jamaica Tourist Board says is the largest wind farm in the English-speaking Caribbean. It uses a hybrid energy storage system with a flywheel and a battery to help power more than 55,000 surrounding homes. Jamaica is now looking to build offshore wind farms to generate 50 percent of all power as part of its national goal of using renewable sources.
Jamaica also focuses on revamping a sustainable agriculture sector, since droughts, floods and storms can impact the quality of soil. Organic farming, managed grazing, and agroforestry can restore degraded lands. Durga’s Den, an eco-farm lodge in Jamaica, works in tandem with the hotel industry, using regenerative agriculture techniques, reforestation and training in these practices.
The Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre was developed at the University of the West Indies to further promote a climate-smart economy. First announced during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Jamaica in November 2017, the Center was launched at the beginning of this year to conduct policy-relevant research and analysis on destination preparedness and crises.
Additionally, the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, launched in Jamaica in August 2018 is striving to make the Caribbean the world’s first climate-smart zone with the implementation of solutions for resilience, renewable energy, development of sustainable cities, oceans and transportation. The climate-smart zone also intends to spur economic growth, social inclusion and job creation.
Jamaica is also addressing the Sargassum seaweed problem. The invasive substance piles up on the beach shores, making it potentially troubling for tourists.
For more information, visit www.visitjamaica.com.