Earth Today | New project promises restoration for Negril morass
RESTORATION OF the Negril Great Morass and enhanced management for the Negril Environmental Protection Area are among the promises of a new 48-month project launched last week in the western resort town.
Dubbed 'Biodiversity Mainstreaming in Coastal Landscapes within the Negril Environmental Protection Area of Jamaica', the effort is a national sub-project of the "Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWEco)" that will benefit 10 islands of the region.
IWEco - a five-year regional project that builds on the work of previous initiatives to address water, land and biodiversity management as well as climate change - receives direct funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the tune of US$21 million, in addition to co-financing of some US$67 million from project partners.
"The Government of Jamaica, through NEPA (the National Environment and Planning Agency), made a commitment to implementing the Watershed Area Management Mechanism (WAMM) approach consolidated under the IWCAM (Integrating Watersheds and Coastal Areas Management) project across other watershed areas and to mainstreaming it into wider development frameworks," noted Dr Lorna Inniss, head of the Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit, UN Environment, in a statement delivered at the November 29 project launch.
LARGEST WETLAND IN JA
The statement was delivered by Donna Sue Spencer, communications specialist with the regional project.
"IWEco aims to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance. As one of the largest wetlands in Jamaica; indeed, as one of the largest natural coastal wetland ecosystems in the Caribbean, supporting internationally significant species, many of which are found nowhere else, the Negril Great Morass is one-such," Inniss added.
With partnerships are central to the regional project, which is implemented through a network of international, regional and national partners, Inniss said she has high hopes for the Jamaica effort.
"Jamaica's project is the largest of eight national sub-projects in IWEco. As such, expectations are high. We hope to see great improvements in the condition of the Negril Great Morass as a result of this project," she noted.
"The involvement of a wide range of stakeholders - government agencies, NGOs and private sector organisations, including the Negril Chamber of Commerce, the Negril Environment Protection Trust, the Water Resources Authority, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Negril Green Island Local Planning Authority - will help to highlight the value of the biodiversity resources in terms of economic development opportunities as well as their importance for sustainable livelihoods," Inniss said.
"An essential part of the project is the development of an integrated management/restoration plan for the Negril Environmental Protection Area during the initial stages of the project, which would serve as the basis for coordinated communication and action among all stakeholders," the UN Environment representative said further.
Other expected results from the Jamaica project - which has received US$3 million in GEF funding - are the reduction in further degradation of peat resources, contributing to improved human health, water quality, air quality and ecosystem functions; and improvements in the livelihoods and strengthened land use practices within local communities.