“The EFJ is back in business!”

So declared Chairman of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) Professor Dale Webber at the signing ceremony for 18 grants under the Special Climate Change Adaptation Fund (SCCAF) on January 30, 2017. EFJ’s important partners, the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) also participated in the event.

The SCCAF is supported by the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanisms project of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience and administered by the EFJ. The fund provides grants of up to J$5 million for a number of community-level climate change adaptation initiatives including soil conservation, climate smart agriculture and tourism, water management, disaster preparedness and climate smart construction.

Representatives of the mostly non-governmental and community-based organizations from across the island gathered at the Knutsford Court Hotel for the signing. Afterwards, they gave short video interviews with EFJ CEO Barrington Lewis, who chaired the event; attended an information session on how to administer their grants; and enjoyed making the acquaintance of fellow grantees.

Professor Webber noted that the first call for proposals went out in October 2016. The EFJ received 83 proposals, of which 46 were short-listed. 12 additional proposals are currently under review. During the period the EFJ held three proposal-writing workshops in Mandeville, Kingston and Montego Bay, attended by a total of 115 Jamaicans. The EFJ Chairman noted one area of concern was that 20 per cent of the proposals came from 50% of the island (seven parishes); the EFJ would like to see more project proposals from eastern Jamaica and from western regions in the next round of grants. A further call for proposals will be issued by the end of February.

Chief Technical Director at the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Lt. Col. Oral Khan pointed to several ways in which climate change is impacting the island, stressing the importance of supporting efforts to adapt to longer dry seasons, increased temperatures and intense storms at the community level. He noted that, at the national level, the Jamaican Government is pursuing the mainstreaming of climate change into all government departments and agencies.

Project Manager for Climate Change and Sustainability at the IDB Ms. Anaitee Mills expressed her delight at the disbursement of the grants and wished the grantees all the best, pointing out that “well-planned early actions” will benefit these groups and will likely “save lives later.”