The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is set to continue work to pilot Natural Resource Valuation (NRV) within Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) this year.
Just over $20 million has been allocated for the initiative in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives.
The undertaking, which commenced in 2008, aims to develop a set of NRV tools that are integral to the implementation of environmental impact and strategic environmental assessments.
Additionally, it is intended to pilot the incorporation of NRV tools into the EIA process, as well as facilitate training and sensitization on NRV for stakeholders in government, non-government organizations (NGOs), and professional decision-making entities.
The project, which falls under the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, has, up to March 2012, facilitated the establishment of a project management unit; completion of literature review and source book, training manual, curriculum and kit, and training course on NRV; engagement of a technical expert to review the source book; development of a pilot project to incorporate NRV in EIA; and development and implementation of plans to incorporate NRV in training courses at three tertiary institutions.
Anticipated targets for the period, up to March 2013, include: undertaking independent assessments of NRV tools; enrolling five professionals within accredited training institutions as NRV trainers; engaging in policy negotiations to further integrate NRV within the EIA process; and undertaking technical consultations to facilitate institutionalizing of NRV into the national planning process.
The Government of Jamaica and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) are collaborating to fund the project.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter