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The first draft of the revised National Land Policy should be ready for wider stakeholder consultations by October 2013.

This was stated by Minister of State in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ian Hayles, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 18.

“We are continuing with the review of the 1996 National Land Policy and we are on track,” he told the House.

The goals and objectives of the policy are to ensure the sustainable, productive and equitable development, use and management of the country’s natural resources.

The policy identifies the implementation of sustainable strategies, projects and programmes for the use of land resources in Jamaica’s agenda for social and economic development. It also addresses the legal and institutional mechanisms to facilitate efficient and effective implementation.

In the meantime, he said a Sustainable Land Management Policy has been developed as part of the land policy.

“I intend to preach the Gospel of sustainability and to lead the drive to infuse those principles in all policies across Government as we strive for sustainability in all areas. We must. If not, we will continue to destroy our island,” Mr. Hayles said.

He said the current state of land degradation in Jamaica has serious implications for biodiversity, agricultural production, food security, and income generating opportunities in rural Jamaica.

“When combined with other environmental maladies such as deforestation, climate change and its associated effects, inadequate rehabilitation of mined out lands and degraded watersheds, the situation is even more critical,” he said.

Contact: Chris Patterson