JIS News

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  • The Government has pledged full support to the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica (NCTFJ) in safeguarding the nation’s protected areas as a key ingredient for sustainable development.
  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said that while Jamaica’s emphasis is on economic growth and job creation, the Government continues to be mindful of the delicate balance that must be achieved between economic pursuits and the conservation of the country’s natural resources and biodiversity.
  • “The economic development of many small island developing states, particularly in the Caribbean, is dependent on their natural resource base,” he noted.

The Government has pledged full support to the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica (NCTFJ) in safeguarding the nation’s protected areas as a key ingredient for sustainable development.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said that while Jamaica’s emphasis is on economic growth and job creation, the Government continues to be mindful of the delicate balance that must be achieved between economic pursuits and the conservation of the country’s natural resources and biodiversity.

“The economic development of many small island developing states, particularly in the Caribbean, is dependent on their natural resource base,” he noted.

“Any environmental anomaly, such as loss of biodiversity, forest cover, coastal erosion, or coral reef degradation, can have an adverse effect on the lives and livelihoods of those persons that directly rely on the natural resources, and who are often the most vulnerable,” he added.

The Minister’s remarks were contained in a speech delivered by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Yaneke Watson, at the signing of a partnership agreement between the NCTFJ and the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), which will launch the NCTFJ as a fully operational trust fund.

The signing took place at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew on Wednesday (June 5).

Already, the NCTFJ has received approximately US$175,000 from the CBF to support processes related to its legal establishment and the development of general operational procedures.

Manager of the NCTFJ, Danellia Aitcheson, said the Fund has adopted best practices for conservation trust funds and has worked assiduously in fulfilling all of CBF’s eligibility criteria to formally become a CBF partner.

“With the signature of the partnership agreement, annual transfers from the CBF Endowment will be channelled through the NCTFJ to capitalise grant making. This will enable the NCTFJ to gradually build its programme portfolio,” she said.

Ms. Aitcheson anticipates that the first call for proposal will take place later this year. She said that the Fund will be prioritising actions to benefit the whole system of protected areas.

“NCTFJ will disburse grants to eligible public agencies, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector to support activities, programmes and projects that contribute substantially to… the conservation, protection and maintenance of the biodiversity within legally recognised protected areas or areas of environmental significance,” she informed.

Activities may include protected areas management, planning, conservation, infrastructure preservation, research, education and awareness.

NCTFJ is a non-profit NGO, established in 2014, to source and provide sustainable funding for protected areas management.

These are areas of land or water that are managed for the protection and maintenance of ecological systems, biodiversity and/or specific natural, cultural or aesthetic resources.

Some of Jamaica’s protected areas are Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Montego Bay Marine Park, Morant and Pedro Cays, Bull Head Forest Reserves, Cockpit Country Forest Reserve, Portland Bight Protected Area, and Palisadoes – Port Royal Protected Areas.

Currently, protected areas receive funding from three main sources – annual subventions form the Government of Jamaica; adhoc support from international programmes; and the private sector.

Creation of the NCTFJ was a significant output of the National Protected Areas System (NPAS) project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) during the period 2010 to 2016.

The project’s aim was to strengthen the operational and financial sustainability of Jamaica’s national protected areas system.

The CBF is a regional endowment consisting of a Jamaican sub-account and eight other national conservation funds in the region.