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Haiti - Environment : 20 million to protect biodiversity and watersheds
13/04/2011 10:55:40

Haiti - Environment : 20 million to protect biodiversity and watersheds
Two new environmental projects to preserve biodiversity and provide a solution to bi-national management of the Artibonite basin, for $20 million over 4 years, have just been launched.

"Today in Haiti, population explosion and increased human pressure on the country’s natural resources is degrading the environment," said Jean-Marie Claude Germain, Minister of the Environment. "To cope with this growing problem, we are trying to establish an effective system for the management of protected areas that represents the best hope to conserve ecosystems, habitats and species as well as help reduce the rate of biodiversity loss ".

This first project is a response to the problems of natural resource management which has so far proved ineffective because of several constraints: lack of territorial and local governance arrangements, lack of qualified human resources to ensure implementation and management of SNAP and the lack of systematic environmental information and monitoring indicators for land management.

The SNAP project will help provide the Ministry of Environment different means to overcome these barriers with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the support of UNDP. Several other partners including the National Center for Geospatial Information (CNIGS), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Spanish Agency for International Development (AECI) and the Inter-american Development Bank (IDB ) have already committed to supporting this project with a budget estimated at 9 million U.S. dollars.

"By preserving the last protected areas of this country, this project will not only contribute to the protection and conservation of biodiversity but also strengthen the resilience of ecosystems against the devastating effects of hydrometeorological hazards such as hurricanes, storms or floods," said Marc-Andre Franche, UNDP Deputy Director.

A second environmental project to reduce conflicting uses of water in the bi-national watershed of Artibonite was inaugurated by the Ministers of Environment of Haiti and the Dominican Republic as well as UNDP. "If we protect the lower part of the basin or downstream without working on the slope and summit, our project cannot achieve the desired effects. The three parts are closely related and form a whole which we must act on simultaneously."

A transboundary study of the watershed will be developed to enable both countries to identify environmental priorities at the national and transboundary levels, to understand the socio-economic challenges that are closely linked, and subsequently develop a joint programme of interventions.

The budget associated with this project - the implementation of which spreads over four years - is $ 11.5 million U.S. dollars and will be funded by GEF and UNDP, with in-kind contributions from several partners including Oxfam Quebec, Helvetas and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

HL/ HaitiLibre

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