A mangrove replanting project is currently underway at Portland Cottage, in Clarendon.
A delegation from the European Union (EU), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will conduct a site visit and tour under Component 2 of the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project (CCADRRP), on March 14.
The project, valued at €4.482 million, and which is expected to last for 30 months, is being carried out under the supervision of NEPA.
The tour will provide the overseas based EU delegation with an opportunity for the gathering of pertinent information and a chance to see the impact the project has had on targeted communities.
Some of the main objectives of the project is to assist with the country’s adaptation to climate change; to contribute to sustainable development in the country by increasing the resilience of vulnerable areas (such as Portland Cottage); and reduce the risks that are associated with natural hazards, especially in vulnerable communities.
The project also aims to reduce downstream run-offs and other negative environmental and human impacts through rehabilitation and improved management of selected watersheds; to increase resilience of coastal eco-systems to climate change impacts; and to enhance institutional and local level capacity for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, through increasing capabilities and raising awareness.
Primary activities being executed under the project include replanting some 400 hectares of lands in Watershed Areas, such as Yallahs River, Hope River, Buff Bay/Pencar and Rio Bueno; Establishing/strengthening four local Forest Management Committees and helping to establish livelihood programmes; Implementing a Forest Fire Management Programme; and establishing river protection structures in vulnerable communities.
Another set of activities being carried out under the programme are: development of a database for the management of coastal ecosystems; preparation of management plans for marine protected areas in Montego Bay, Negril and the Portland Bight area; creation and planting of artificial reefs and securing marker buoys in three Marine protected areas; and replanting some 20 acres of sea grass in Negril.
A pilot public education programme on climate change is also being conducted, as well as a pilot project on risk and vulnerability assessment to address issues of climate change.
Key organizations that are playing an active role in the project include the Forestry Department, which is responsible for rehabilitated watershed areas, through slope stabilization measures, such as the reforestation of destroyed slope cover on hillsides; NEPA, that is responsible for increased flexibility of selected coastal areas against potential climate change impacts; and the island’s Meteorological Service, which is responsible for climate change capacity building and awareness raising.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson