Gov’t Mitigating Threat of Harmful Organisms

The Government has allocated some $31 million to Mitigate the Threat of Invasive Alien Species (AIS) in the Insular Caribbean, in the 2010/11 Estimates of Expenditures now before the House of Representatives.
Invasive alien species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health. In particular, they impact adversely upon biodiversity, including decline or elimination of native species – through competition, predation, or transmission of pathogens – and the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions.
The project, being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), seeks to mitigate the threat to local biodiversity and economy from these organisms
in the insular Caribbean, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
This will be achieved through: increasing national capacity to address potential risks and increase regional co-operation to reduce risks posed to biodiversity of global significance from IAS; strengthening public awareness, access to data and best practices of IAS; increase capacity to prevent new IAS introductions; and increase capacity to respond, control and manage IAS impacting globally significant biodiversity.
Anticipated targets for this fiscal year include: hosting public meetings on pilot project activities monitoring Lionfish, protection of Iguana and conservation of Lower Black River Morass; host workshops to formulate National IAS strategy, action plan and guidelines; formation and hosting of National Steering Committee meeting and technical committee meetings; host/attend regional and international meetings relevant to IAS in Jamaica; and collection of baseline data for Pilot Project sites.
Invasive alien species exacerbate poverty and threaten development through their impact on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural systems, which are an important basis of people’s livelihood in developing countries. This damage is aggravated by climate change, pollution, habitat loss and human-induced disturbance.
The project is funded jointly by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Government of Jamaica and is expected to last until December, 2013.

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