“Impacts such increasing temperatures, melting glaciers and rising sea levels to extreme weather events, intensifying droughts and more frequent and more severe wildfires,” the Minister said.
Minister Grange was speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the three-day symposium on Climate Change being held at the Jamaica Pegasus from May 29 to 31 and which has participants from nine Caribbean nations as well as from UNESCO.
Climate Change poses a real and grave threat to something that the peoples of the Caribbean hold dear - their cultural heritage, tangible and intangible.
Minister Grange pointed out that, “Those of us who pay attention to international news could not have missed the fact that the subject of Climate Change is in the air internationally.”
So then, “It is our voice, our heart, our soul, our story that is exposed and is at risk of being plummeted and wiped out by the forces of Climate Change. That is why we are gathered here today to deliberate and come to a consensus on how we are to battle the vicious impacts of Climate Change on the integrity of our culture and heritage,” the Minister said.
Miss Grange told the gathering that culture and heritage had not been afforded a large space in the Climate Change discourse, and that it was not given prominence in research and Policy.
She said however that those such as UNESCO and the Union of Concerned Scientists who have engaged in the research, got a true sense of the extensive impact of Climate Change on heritage.
The Minister said that the trend was especially worrying for Small Island Developing States where environmental vulnerabilities are at the extreme.
She said that in the Caribbean sub-region, hurricanes, prolonged periods of droughts, flooding, erosion, other weather phenomena, and an increase in oceanic and atmospheric temperatures are having a severe impact on local climate, built heritage, and a myriad of threats to biodiversity.
Minister Grange said it was therefore imperative that coming out of the symposium, “We are able to share very clear outputs that will ensure that we safeguard our heritage assets in the face of climate change.”