Gov’t Earmarks $13.23 Million for Natural Resources Conservation


The government of Jamaica has earmarked $13.23 million for natural resources conservation for financial year 2007/2008.
The initiative, which falls under the National Environmental and Planning Agency (NEPA), provides for the coordination, protection, conservation and monitoring of Jamaica’s natural resources and the environment, comprising the land, sea and air as well as human and other animal life.
As contained in the Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives, the largest sum of $5 million will be used for parks and protected areas species habit monitoring. The aim of this project is to establish and manage a system for protected areas both directly and through appropriate delegation using a variety of strategic co -management partnerships and contractual arrangements with the public sector, non-governmental organisations, community groups, private companies and individuals.
In addition, $2.82 million will go to the Coastal Management Unit for its coastal zone management project. The unit is responsible for developing and implementing an integrated programme for the conservation and usage of the island’s coastal zone.
The activity involves the monitoring of ecologically important coastal resources such as coral reefs, beaches, wetlands, coastal water quality and other development activities.
For the new financial year, the unit is expected to provide mapping of development information in a coastal atlas format to aid in future development; monitor the ecological system (marine and terrestrial) and physical systems (beach stability and oceanography) within Jamaica’s coastal zone; monitor the impact of human development interventions within the coastal zone; develop pre-approval inspection procedures and guidelines for internal use and post approval inspection guidelines to assist post inspection monitoring by environmental wardens.
The unit will also implement the next phase of the beach rehabilitation process; complete the review of the Jamaica Coral Reef Action Plan; assist in developing a Wetland Protection Plan and develop standards and guidelines to mitigate the impact of sea level rise.
In the meantime, $2.5 million has been allocated for the Pollution Control and Waste Management project, which is concerned with the implementation of national programmes for pollution control and waste management. The monitoring process encourages compliance with standards and establishes linkages with public and private entities.
The project is responsible for implementing an Environmental Management System; establishing a system by which assessments will be made; reviewing and negotiating at least three monitoring and management plans; investigating pollution incidents and reducing chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) consumption by 16 metric tons; initiating the development of standards and regulations for motor vehicle emissions; conducting surveys of asbestos containing material; strengthening the legislative basis for accountability of environmental stewardship; and developing an inventory of sewage and industrial discharges.
A further $2 million will go towards the Watershed Management and Protection project, for the protection and management of Jamaica’s watershed and natural resources, including ongoing capacity building and inputs for watershed conservation activities, while $1 million has been made available for public education and information.
The public education effort is aimed at creating greater awareness of the importance of the environment and emphasizing methods of conservation, protection and usage of available natural resources in a sustainable way.

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