CCADRRP Project Background

Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Risk Reduction Project
Country: Jamaica
Total Budget: EUR 4,482,420
European Union contribution: EUR 4,130,000
UNEP Contribution: EUR 180,000
GOJ Contribution (Government of Jamaica): EUR 172,420
Total Project Duration: 30 months

Jamaica’s natural resources have suffered a decline in quantity and quality over time, due primarily to its heavy dependence on these resources, cultural/traditional unsustainable practices, and the many natural hazards which have affected the island. The coastal zone contains an estimated 75% of industries and service sectors and is responsible for generating approximately 90 % of the island’s GDP. The island’s two international airports are also located along the coast. In addition, more than 60% of Jamaica’s population resides within 2 km of the coast, with the majority either reliant on, or affected by coastal activities. In 2007, a total of about 71% of the poor lived in rural areas and the livelihoods of a large proportion of households in these areas depend on natural resources.

Over the last 25 – 30 years, Jamaica has experienced an increase in the frequency of natural events, primarily floods related to inclement weather, tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes, and droughts and landslides. The adverse impacts of hurricanes included a decline in the health of coral reefs; loss of seagrass beds; severe beach erosion and loss of forested areas. The island has, and will continue to be affected by increased frequency and intensity of tropical weather systems, which can partly be attributed to climate change. Between 2004 and 2008, five major storm events caused damage and losses estimated at US$1.2 billion. These have had significant impact on the national economy; the quality of the country’s natural environment and the livelihoods of thousands of people, particularly in rural areas. In addition, the country has experienced loss of lives and property; damage to infrastructure; periodic isolation of communities; and disruption to the school system and health services.

Jamaica’s wetlands were thought to have covered approximately 2 % of Jamaica’s total surface, but have declined. They have been impacted severely by the passage of several tropical cyclones and frontal systems over the years. Mangrove forests occur along much of Jamaica’s south coast and in isolated strands along the north coast. These mangrove ecosystems are the breeding habitats for many marine species, including shrimp, molluscs, mussels, clams, oysters and some fish, which are very important food resources for the country. Mangroves assist in improving coastal water quality; in addition, they protect shorelines from erosion and other harmful effects of strong winds and waves. Environmental degradation affects all levels – local and national. At the local level, the coastal communities who depend on these ecosystems are disadvantaged; residents often rely primarily on agriculture and/or tourism. Housing is often compromised, particularly with the onset of tropical systems. At the national level, the economy is likely to be affected as agriculture and tourism are critical to sustaining it. It is therefore critical that action is taken at all levels, particularly through collaborative efforts, to reduce further degradation and to restore terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems and ensuring greater resilience to climate change impacts.

Jamaica, is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, and faces direct threats from climate change because of its geographic location. Detailed climate modelling has not yet been possible for Jamaica, but preliminary research suggests that the region is likely to see increases in extreme weather events such as flood rains and droughts, and an increase in the intensity of hurricanes. Coastal areas in Jamaica are at the forefront of climate change impacts as they are directly affected by storm surges, physical development and sea level rise. With sea levels projected to rise by an average of 2 – 3mm per year during the first half of this century, the effects on the coastal areas will be severe, and include erosion and coastal land subsidence. Coastal areas are already affected by saline intrusion which is likely to be exacerbated by climate change. These issues highlight the importance of this project which seeks to reduce risks and assist with adaptation to climate change. The project targets various groups these include; CBOs, NGOs, students, teachers, farmers, fisherfolk, Private Sector groups, media groups, Local Authorities, and communities.

Many of the activities within the project will use lessons learnt from other projects, and may also act as a tool for other projects or programmes. Additionally, it is expected to have a multiplier effect on the local and national levels. Communities and other local groups stand to benefit from improved resilience of natural ecosystems such that there will be less damage and losses from weather systems. On a macro-economic scale, however, the benefits may be seen in reduced damage and loss due to storm events, and the protection of those sectors which play a key part in sustaining the economy including agriculture and tourism. The project will build on scientific knowledge through data collection. In Jamaica, farming and fishing is mainly done by males, therefore they will be targeted specifically through public education programmes, in order to overcome some destructive traditions and practices.

There is a link between terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems such that activities up-stream can affect those downstream. The concept of “ridge to reef” is one that has been adopted and is being practiced in Jamaica. It has been proven and recognised that protecting the hillsides from degradation will help in protecting the coastal and marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs that suffer from land-based activities, in particular sedimentation. Effective management therefore dictates that an integrated approach is needed. The results were designed with this in mind, where it targets and benefits various groups and sectors.

The project targets the water, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors which are inextricably linked. Watersheds and forests play a key role in the provision of water for varied uses. With proper and effective management of these ecosystems, it is likely that the water quality and availability will be improved. It is also expected to reduce the likelihood of flooding downstream which continues to pose a problem for many communities.

CCADRRP Objectives

Overall Objective:

To adapt to climate change and contribute to sustainable development in Jamaica, particularly in vulnerable communities, through increasing resilience and reducing risks associated with natural hazards.


Specific Objectives:

  • Reduce downstream run-off and associated negative environmental and human impacts through rehabilitation and improved management of selected watersheds;
  • Increase resilience of coastal ecosystems to climate change impacts through restoration and protection of selected ecosystems;
  • Enhance institutional and local-level capacity for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction through increasing capabilities

The primary partners for the project are the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA); the Environmental Management Division, Office of the Prime Minister (EMD, OPM); Forestry Department (FD); and Meteorological Services Jamaica.

The Target groups for this project include Community Based Organizations (CBOs); Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Students, Teachers, Farmers, Fisher folk, Private sector groups, Local Authorities, Private Land Owners and Identified Communities. The final beneficiaries of this project are expected to be Agricultural Services, Forestry Services; Fisheries, Water Supply and Sanitation and Administrative Management


Estimated Results:

  • Rehabilitated watersheds through slope stabilization measures such as reforestation of denuded hillsides;
  • Increased resilience of selected coastal areas against potential climate change impacts
  • Climate change capacity building and awareness raising.

CCADRRP Main Activities

Rehabilitated Watersheds:

  • Facilitate the establishment and improvement of community-based management structures in the selected Watershed Management Units (WMUs);
  • Undertake reforestation and agroforestry in selected WMUs;
  • Assess forested crown lands and declare forest reserves;
  • Develop a Forest Fire Management Programme;
  • Promote sustainable livelihood/economic activities;
  • Establish river protection infrastructure/structures in selected areas.


Resilience in Coastal Areas:

  • Design and implement data collection and database systems for monitoring changes in coastal ecosystems;
  • Restore mangrove forests;
  • Develop management plans for the effective management of selected marine protected areas (MPAs);
  • Establish and/or enhance coastal protection measures in selected areas.
  • Use (best-practice) appropriate methods and technologies in restoring seagrass beds;
  • Identify and assess possible options for alternative livelihoods and take steps to facilitate them in selected communities.


Climate Change Capacity Building and Awareness:

  • Design and implement a comprehensive climate change awareness and educational campaign including culturally relevant materials and resources;
  • Provide and disseminate resource materials using existing institutions such as public libraries, and others;
  • Create and operationalize publicly accessible GIS-based database and mechanism for data sharing and transfer;
  • Identify capacity building/strengthening needs within the government and implement appropriate activities to address these needs;
  • Assist in the revision and/or development of policies that will address climate change adaptation and, where appropriate, mitigation to climate change.

CCADRRP Project Approach

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been entrusted by the European Union with resources, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica .The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the primary agency responsible for project management. They have six cross-cutting thematic areas. Three of them are directly relevant to the objectives of the project: Climate Change; Ecosystem Management; and Disaster Prevention. UNEP CAR/RCU, the Regional Seas Office based in Jamaica plays a lead role in project implementation, falls within the UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) which is responsible for the implementation of environmental policy in order to foster sustainable development at global, regional and national levels. It is also UNEP’s focal division for capacity building, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, and ecosystem management which will allow for a broad range of additional technical support for the project.

UNEP works along with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) who co-manages the project. Both organizations along with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Environmental Management Division (EMD) of the OPM, the Forestry Department, and the Meteorological Services Jamaica. Theses organizations along with the European Union comprise the steering committee for the project. The Project Steering Committee was established with the aim of providing general oversight, policy guidance and monitoring of programme implementation.

A project management unit was established to manage the project. This unit is located within the offices of Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).

The PIOJ was selected to co-manage this action as it is a multi-facetted agency which advises the government in economic, social and environmental matters. It is currently spear-heading the government’s Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan, a long-term sustainable development tool by which all government agencies are guided by. As such, the PIOJ is in a unique position to coordinate various activities and collaborate with various groups of society including governmental, private and non-governmental organizations

CCADRRP Sustainability

Climate change adaptation is a critical aspect of future national development plans by the government. The activities given above form a part of the government’s vision of long-term socio-economic and environmental well-being. This is outlined in the Vision 2030 plan which seeks to integrate all aspects of life in a sustainable manner. It is recognised that the environment plays an integral role in achieving sustainable development goals including the reduction of poverty, and the improvement in the quality of health and life for all Jamaicans. Also, the plan highlights the need for climate change adaptation considering the possible threats to the society which is heavily dependent on the use of natural resources. The combination of climate change and unsustainable human activities are threatening the quality and survival of those natural resources and the economic, social and environmental services they provide.

The project will also impact and be impacted by various committees including the Protected Areas Committee which is responsible for the oversight of the Protected Areas System Master Plan (PASMP). The PASMP is aimed at improving the management structure of protected areas. The SD Council will also be able to provide input and facilitate the expansion and/or replication of some aspects of the project.

The sustainability of the project will be achieved through collaboration at the local and national levels. Many of the activities require the participation and input of local stakeholders, one being through the formation of local forest management committees (LFMCs) which will assist in the protection of watersheds. This approach will encourage uptake at the community level and facilitate efforts of national institutions to continue activities geared towards improving the resilience of natural ecosystems. Lessons learnt will be used to upscale activities and also replicated as required.

Several agencies including NEPA and the Forestry Department are mandated to tackle some of these problems through integrated management structures. Funding for the continuation of these activities will be from government and other agencies, both locally and internationally.

CCADRRP Site Selection

The selection of locations for the project was based on their importance and current state. Over the past few years, the physical state of these areas has undergone varying levels of degradation. However, they are important to protecting shoreline, preserving biodiversity and providing other socio-economic and environmental benefits. Further details on their importance are given below.


Yallahs and Hope River Watershed Management Unit

The Yallahs and Hope River Watersheds are contiguous, and are located in the Blue and John Crow Mountains on the Eastern end of the island. They are forested areas characterized by steep slopes and relatively thin soil cover. They are important in the provision of water, particularly to the capital city of Kingston Jamaica and its environs. They supply the Mona Reservoir which is the largest water storage system in the Kingston and St. Andrew areas (which host the country’s capital). Additionally, they are important for soil stability and nutrient cycling for agriculture; maintaining the local climate; and preserving biodiversity. Irrigation water for parts of St. Thomas including Albion – Poormans Corner areas is supplied by the Yallahs River Watershed.

They have experienced severe degradation over the past few years. This has been attributed primarily to natural hazards, development, deforestation and unsustainable farming practices. The watersheds have inadequate drainage systems, as well as improper road construction and maintenance. The results have been deleterious having affected the livelihood of many and the efficient recharge of water. The degradation has resulted in increased landslides and slope instability; loss of lives and property; and siltation of rivers and marine ecosystems downstream. The productivity of the land has therefore decreased as has its ability to sustain biodiversity.

In the Yallahs Watershed, the proposed locations for special focus are Bellevue Heights, Abby Green, Mt. Tiviot, Old England, and Clydesdale. Bellevue Heights is Crown lands reaching over 4,000 feet in elevation. It has abandoned coffee farms as it was previously leased to the Coffee Board. There are on-going farming activities in areas which the project aims to address. Abby Green, Mt. Tiviot, Old England are characterized by unstable, steep slopes, and are also above 4,000 feet above sea level. Residents in these areas have turned to farming on the slopes which is unsustainable. Clydesdale is within a forested area and has suffered from wind damage and invasive alien species.

Dick’s Pond and Oatley in the Hope River Watershed will have special attention within the project. Dick’s Pond has extensive tree cover, but natural events have removed much of the trees. Oatley has very steep slopes with elevations above 4,500 feet and was once used for coffee farming. Efforts will be made to restore the areas to protect the hillside.


Portland Bight:

Portland Bight is the body of water between the Hellshire Hills (to the west of Kingston) and Portland Ridge (the part of Jamaica which sticks out to the south). The area was recently declared the Portland Bight Protected Area with additional coastline occupying 200 sq. miles (520 sq. km) of the surrounding coastal land and all the marine area out to the 200 metre depth contour (some eleven nautical miles south of Portland Point) for a total area of 724 sq. miles (1876 sq. km). It is Jamaica’s largest protected area thus far – 4.7% of Jamaica’s land area and 47.6% of our island shelf.

The Portland Bight Protected Area is rich in wildlife and natural areas; 41% of the land area is dry limestone forests of Hellshire, Portland Ridge and Braziletto Mountain, and is rated as the largest relatively intact forests of that type left in Central America and the Caribbean (81 sq. miles, 210 sq. km). Of the 271 plant species identified in the Hellshire Hills by Adams and DuQuesnay, 53 (19.6%) are found only in Jamaica (endemic), and several are found only in the Hellshire Hills. The Hellshire Hills is the last known habitat of the Jamaican Iguana, an endemic species and Jamaica’s largest land animal. In addition, the Hellshire Hills is the last remaining stronghold in Jamaica of the endemic skink. Two endemic reptiles (a thunder snake and the Blue-Tailed Galliwasp), and an endemic frog are found only on Portland Ridge. Jamaica’s only endemic terrestrial mammal, the Coney, is found in Hellshire and Portland Ridge. Many endemic and resident forest birds as well as North American migrant birds add to the biodiversity.

Another 16% of the land area (32 sq. miles, 82 sq. km) is valuable wetlands, the largest almost continuous mangrove stands remaining in Jamaica (about 48 km long). Within the wetlands are many waterfowl, and healthy populations of our national symbol, the crocodile.

These wetlands together with extensive sea-grass beds in the waters of the Bight provide probably the largest nursery area for fish, crustaceans and molluscs on the island and support 4,000 of Jamaica’s 16,000 fishers and their families. Two of Jamaica’s largest fishing beaches – Old Harbour Bay and Rocky Point (each with over 1,000 fishers) – fall within the protected area, and there is a tremendous opportunity to manage these fisheries to increase the yields.

Parts of the mainland shoreline as well as many of the coral cays within the Bight, are major nesting areas for sea birds and endangered sea turtles including Hawksbill Turtles and Green Turtles. Manatees, which used to be numerous in the area, are now rare, but there are still a few.


Palisadoes/Port Royal Protected Areas (Refuge Cay):

This is the most researched mangal is the Port Royal mangrove area due to its proximity to the Kingston Harbour, a major trans-shipment port since the 1700’s and the presence of the University of the West Indies Port Royal Marine Lab. The habitat of many bird populations in the Port Royal Mangrove Forest is primarily limited to Refuge Cay, a mangrove Cay 1.5 km North-west of the Norman Manley International Airport runway. This Cay is the primary home to the majority of resident and migrant birds in the Port Royal and Kingston area due to its relative isolation from the mainland. The health of this Cay is however threatened by the impact of solid waste which floats from the gullies, storm drains and rivers of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine. This accumulation of garbage on Refuge Cay causes the death of native, endangered and migratory birds, retardation of mangrove forest growth, discourages fish nursery and recruitment in the Protected Area. This solid waste impact is also theorized to be a contributing factor to the slow death of the inner mangroves, the Cay now showing a barren salina/mud flat type situation several hundred meters long in the inner forest.


St. Thomas Morass:

The Great Morass is situated at the extreme eastern end of the island with its south-western boundary at Rocky Point, the eastern boundary at Morant Point, the north-eastern boundary at Holland Bay, and the south-eastern boundary towards the sea. A large section of the wetland is privately owned. The Morass is separated from the sea at Mammee Bay by sand bars and white sandy beaches. There are three streams running through the morass in the Belgium District which originate from blue holes. These empty into the main drain which flows to the sea.

The flora is dominated by mangroves. Mangrove thickets have been observed lining the main stream down to the sea. These mainly comprise red mangrove and button mangrove. On surrounding higher land, the vegetation is typical of strand woodland association, particularly in the north-eastern section of the wetland around Quaco Point and Morant Point.

The fauna is comprised mainly of birds and crabs; crocodiles are also known to be present in the area. Turtles are known to nest on the beaches around the morass but have been hunted almost to the point of extinction. A portion of the swamp is used for agriculture, including crops such as bananas, yams, and a small amount of rice. Shrimps are known to be present in the drainage canals but not in sufficient quantities to support a viable industry.


Buff Bay /Pencar Watershed Management Unit:

The Buff Bay River and the Pencar River Watersheds are located in the parishes of Portland and St. Mary respectively. They are important as they have forests reserves and also supply the respective communities and surrounding areas with domestic water supply. However, they have suffered from degradation dur primarily to farming. The community depends on agriculture as their main source of income. Of particular note is coffee, which is a key crop of the area. As such, the areas have been plagued by deforestation, pollution (from chemicals) and soil erosion. The livelihoods of the communities have therefore been impacted and stand to suffer further without preventive measures being put in place.


Rio Bueno Watershed Management Unit:

The Rio Bueno Watershed is a smaller sub-section of the Roaring River and Dunn’s River Watershed. It is currently managed by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). In previous years, the area was used for agriculture, particularly cattle and pimento farming. However, degradation of the area has resulted in a shift in the land-use, and agriculture is no longer a sustainable livelihood. The project will attempt to rehabilitate this area, particularly Malvern Park.

CCADRRP Partners

Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ)

Mandate: To initiate and coordinate the development of plans and programmes that will facilitate sustainable development
Link to website:
On the Project:




Forestry Department (FD)

Mandate: To manage Jamaica’s forest ecosystems according to national environment polices
Link to website:




National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA)

Mandate: To promote sustainable development by ensuring protection of the environment and orderly development in Jamaica through highly motivated staff performing at the highest standard
Link to website:




Meteorological Services Jamaica

Mandate: To take full advantage of man’s present knowledge of weather and climate; to take steps to improve significantly that knowledge and to foresee and prevent potential man-made changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being of humanity.
Link to website:




Environmental Management Division, Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change

Mandate: To assume responsibility for environment and planning and development and to address climate change issues at the national and international levels
Link to website:
On the project:

CCADRRP Project Contacts

Mr. Christopher Corbin

AMEP Programme Officer

United Nations Environment Programme-CAR/RCU

14- 20 Port Royal Street


Tel: 922-9267-9



Ms. Mary-Ann Gooden

Project Manager

Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project

Planning Institute of Jamaica

16 Oxford Road,

Kingston 5

Tel: 960-9339



Ms. Sanya Wedemier-Graham

AMEP Programme Assistant

United Nations Environment Programme – CAR/RCU

14-20 Port Royal Street


Tel: 922-9267-9