The National Environment and Planning Agency’s (NEPA) efforts to strengthen the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System will be bolstered this year, as some $47.6 million has been allocated to the project.
This is contained in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The objectives of the project, which commenced in July 2010, are: to strengthen financial planning and revenue generation, and rationalisation and integration of the national protected area system.
For the 2013/14 period, the project will: draft and finalise business plans for three protected areas (PA); conduct stakeholder workshops in targeted PAs; implement public communication and awareness strategy and training workshops on business planning; review draft and existing policies and legislation relating to PAs, and provide recommendations for adjustments where necessary.
Achievements up to February this year include: the establishment of a project management unit, a project steering committee, and a legal and financial working group. It has also yielded the engagement of a public education specialist, and recruitment of local and international legal experts, and a business specialist.
Other achievements include: Projects Small Grants initiative implemented in Negril Marine Park, Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Mason River Protected Area, Hellshire Hills and Goat Islands, Gourie, and Clydesdale/Cinchona Forest Reserves; mooring buoys installed in the Negril Marine Park; and educational materials developed.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, the project is being jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). It is slated to end in February 2016.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter