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Haiti - Environment : UN urges Haiti to good environmental and agricultural practices
06/06/2016 12:16:53

Haiti - Environment : UN urges Haiti to good environmental and agricultural practices
Sunday, as part of World Environment Day, the United Nations in Haiti reiterated their support to Haiti in its commitments to increase good environmental and agricultural practices. UN experts in Haiti emphasize that responsible management and protection of the environment at the institutional and community levels, as well as land development, are essential to the economic and social development of Haiti. Indeed, pollution and unsustainable use of land and marine ecosystems weaken economic alternatives (particularly tourism, agriculture, fisheries and energy) and increase the risk of extreme poverty. These factors are interdependent with disabilities of systems of access to water, sanitation and waste management, and also have an impact on the risk of waterborne diseases, energy poverty and the vulnerability of the population to natural disasters.

Biodiversity is also affected by environmental degradation in Haiti, where 19% of all the species are threatened with extinction.

Deforestation is one of the issues that most concern to United Nations experts. The vegetation cover is very low, although the lack of updated data does not allow to accurately determine the rate. One of the factors contributing to deforestation is the felling of trees for charcoal production, which in 2012 was used in 92% of Haitian households for cooking. According to FAO, 10,000 bags of charcoal are consumed daily in the country. In addition, soil erosion increases the vulnerability of people to natural disasters, including weather and earthquakes.

Again, the UN studies warn of the fact that women and poorer households are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation, including rural households with female head of household, since they suffer primarily from lower crop yields caused by the consequences of deforestation.

In response, the United Nations encourages national efforts towards the efficiency of means of production, natural resource conservation and restoration of degraded lands through improved agroforestry practices, environmental and agro-ecological as well as the conservation of local varieties. These practices would allow reduction of post-harvest losses of agricultural products (currently around 30-40%, according to the Ministry of Agriculture).

Given the gravity of the situation, the United Nations welcomed the fact that for several years the Haitian government, with the support of its partners, has acted to protect the environment and mitigate the risks arising from its degradation, such as the creation of new protected areas whose first marine areas in the South and in the North, the boundary of the National Parks of Macaya, La Visite and the Pine Forest; the creation of the Biosphere Reserve of La Selle and the establishment of protected areas management structures as the "Agence Nationale des Aires".

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