JIS News

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  • Jamaica is in the process of revising and updating its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
  • The plan, will, among other things, produce measurable targets to safeguard or restore key ecosystem services, especially for water, health and livelihoods.
  • A team from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is spearheading the revision of the programme to the tune of US$220,000.

Jamaica is in the process of revising and updating its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

The plan, will, among other things, produce measurable targets to safeguard or restore key ecosystem services, especially for water, health and livelihoods.

A team from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is spearheading the revision of the programme to the tune of US$220,000.

The project, which is expected to last for one year, is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Jamaica.

Biological Diversity or Biodiversity is the term used to describe the variety of life found on earth and all of the natural processes.

Biodiversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services essential for human well-being. It provides for food security, human health, the provision of clean air and water; it contributes to local livelihoods and economic development.

Speaking at a workshop at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in Kingston yesterday (October 16), Technical Project Manager, NEPA, Dione Chambers, said the update will be achieved through an extensive process of cross sectoral and multi-disciplinary stakeholder engagement and will be build on the framework set by a 2003 version of the plan.

She informed that following the workshop, a working committee will be formed to update the data for the national biodiversity strategy and action plan, develop national targets and anchor the implementation of the new plan into the national development framework for sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, mining, water, housing, town planning, transport, heritage and disaster management.

Director, Planning Projects, Evaluation and Research Division, NEPA, Novelette Douglas, said the project is of critical importance as despite ongoing conservation and sustainable development programmes, the island’s biological resources continue to face serious threats.

“Such losses will not only hamper our ability to sustain or improve our present way of life but could also rob us of the opportunity to sufficiently shape our future,” she contended.

She noted that the project will assist in protecting the island’s natural resources and endemic species. “Jamaica has an amazing variety of life forms, which account for over 3,300 species of flora and plants, of which over 900 are endemic and approximately 43 species of reptiles of which approximately 77 per cent are endemic.

“Our coral reefs, wetlands and mountains, dry and limestone forest, rainforest and woodlands are examples of our ecosystem that supports a rich variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms,” she said.

Programme Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Richard Kelly, said his organisation remains committed to partnering with the Government and other stakeholders in institutional strengthening and capacity building.

The National Biodiversity Strategic Plan Project will also make recommendations that could help the island’s natural resources to adapt and become more resilient to climate change impacts.

The revision will also outline ways in which environmental actions can be mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all sectors to achieve a positive impact on the island’s biodiversity.

The National Biodiversity Strategic Plan Project aims to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 2011-2020 Strategic Plan in Jamaica.

The implementation of the project forms part of the island’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB), to which Jamaica became a Party in 1995.

The project will also prepare the Fifth Report on Biodiversity Conservation for submission to the CBD.