Kingston is one of three medium-sized cities in Latin America and the Caribbean benefiting from a novel climate resilience project called CityAdapt, which is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through its Special Climate Change Fund.
Similar to the two other cities, Xalapa, Mexico and San Salvador in El Salvador, the CityAdapt- Building Climate Resilience of Urban Systems through Ecosystem- based Adaptation (EbA)- Project, is helping Kingston to cope and adapt to the challenges of a fast-changing climate by employing responses that are grounded in Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as distinct from human-engineered grey infrastructure.
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are inspired and supported by nature to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems. They encompass a wide range of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures to improve urban resilience by using nature to deliver social, ecological, and economic benefits.
To date, CityAdapt has partnered with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, the Forestry Department and The Nature Conservancy, to implement NbS pilot interventions valued at over US$1.5 million at several Kingston-based schools, the special-needs institution-Abilities Foundation, Greenwich Town, Rose Town, Seaview Gardens, Windward Court (Bower Banks) and Rockfort communities, JDF HQ and in the upper Hope River Watershed.
Additionally, the Project has facilitated the training of stakeholders in the Government, environmental agencies, municipal authorities, public utility companies, real estate developers and civil society groups on how to integrate Nature-based Solutions approaches and tools in their planning and climate-resilient development in urban spaces.
“CityAdapt has attempted to work from the bottom up, as well as from the top down, and has been a great project design to guide the policy work being done by TNC to advocate for Nature-based solutions or Ecosystem-based adaptation to be reflected in policies, plans, programmes and laws.”
Donna Oniss Blake, Jamaica Programme Director
The Nature Conservancy
“The activities implemented under this UNEP Project were deliberate and targeted and took note of the vulnerabilities in our urban spaces”, pointed out Shanice Bedward-Grant, National Coordinator for CityAdapt Kingston.
“The unique lessons learnt will inform our policies and responses to better equip Kingston and other urban and peri-urban spaces in Jamaica to cope and adapt to the vicissitudes of a changing climate for generations to come.”