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A total of $169.5 million has been allocated for the implementation of a Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction project, in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.

With funding from the European Union, the project is being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Environmental Management Division, and the Forestry Department.

The overall objective of the programme is to increase resilience and reduce risk associated with hazards in vulnerable areas as adaptive measures to climate change, thereby contributing to the development of Jamaica.

The money will go towards developing one database to monitor coastal ecosystems; replanting 7.04 hectares of mangroves within the three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); establishing a coastal plants nursery at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab; preparing Management Plans for three MPAs; replanting 3,000 square metres of sea grass; installing two artificial reef systems in Negril and Old Harbour; and installing 30 Data loggers in four MPAs.

It will also be used in rehabilitating 700 square metres of beach (Negril and Font Hill); distributing grants to promote alternative livelihood in five MPAs; establishing 56 hectares of forest plantation; rehabilitation of four nurseries; assessing 20,351 of 110,000 hectares of forested crown land; river protection infrastructure to minimize erosion and flooding; and development and implementation of a fire management programme.

Some of the physical achievements to date include: 97 per cent of hectares of mangroves replanted; 23 mooring buoys installed in three MPAs – Palisadoes/Port Royal Cays (10), Negril (8), and Montego Bay (5); Memoranda of Understanding signed with five non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for implementation of alternative livelihood programme within five MPAs (Negril, Montego Bay, Portland Bight, St. Thomas and Bluefields); 89,648 of 110,000 hectares of forested crown lands assessed; 455 hectares of land identified and surveyed for planting; and the hosting of local workshops on climate change adaptation in vulnerable communities.

The project, which began in October 2010, is slated to end in December 2013.

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter