Prime Minister Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to safeguarding Jamaica’s coastal areas, which, he noted, are integral to the national economy.
He said that about 50 per cent of the country’s economic assets, including commercial and industrial facilities and tourism infrastructure, which contribute to 90 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) are located on the coast.
“Additionally, over two million people reside in coastal areas,” the Prime Minister pointed out during his Budget presentation in Gordon House on Thursday (March 19).
Citing work being undertaken to protect the coastal areas, he mentioned multi-hazard assessments of eight priority areas being conducted through funding provided by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) under its Jamaica Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (JDVRP).
The studies will provide an understanding of the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the built and natural environments, with a view to identifying solutions geared towards climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Also under JDVR, the Port Royal Street Coastal Revetment Project, for which ground was broken on March 3, will get underway in the new fiscal year.
The project is intended to reduce the physical vulnerability of the communities located along the downtown Kingston coastline, which houses critical national institutions, a major transport corridor and provides access to the international airport.
It will incorporate work along the coastline from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade building to the Rae Town Fishing Village and will include the construction of a one-kilometre composite seawall and armour stone revetment structure; upgrading of drainage; and rehabilitation and raising of one kilometre of the existing roadway.
Preservation of the country’s coastlines is part of an overall thrust aimed at strengthening climate and disaster-risk management within the wider context of sustainable development.