Just over $4 million has been allocated in the 2012/13 Estimates of Expenditure, currently before the House of Representatives, to fund integrated management of Yallahs/Hope River Watershed Management Area Project, in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
The undertaking, being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) over the next four years, beginning this September, aims to reduce pressure on natural resources in the Yallahs and Hoper River watersheds of the Blue Mountains, by increasing sustainable land management techniques.
These are expected to yield improved management of biological diversity and enhanced flow of ecosystem services that sustain the livelihood of local residents.
It is envisaged that under the project: a geographic information system (GIS) watershed information management system, and bio-monitoring and water quality monitoring programme will be established; an institutional structure for watershed management will be implemented; financial and economic incentives to support sustained bio-diversity and watershed management will be established; community awareness of sustainable land management techniques will increase; as also lands under sustainable agro-forestry, by eight per cent.
To date, technical documents have been prepared in relation to agro-forestry and biology; biodiversity; economics of natural resources; institutional framework for financial management; GIS/data mapping; rural development; communications; hydrology; and carbon sequestration.
Anticipated targets for 2012/13 include: the establishment of a project management unit; and outlining of the management framework for the integrated aspects of the project, being jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter