Natural Assets Management Project gets $6.58 Million

The Natural Assets Management project, which is being implemented by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), has been allocated $6.58 million in the Estimates of expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives.
The objective of the project is to engage stakeholders to achieve effective management of protected areas, biodiversity-rich sites, and critical conservation areas in river basins such as watersheds and coastal areas, while sustaining the resource base for rural economic activity.
It also seeks to provide support for specific initiatives that will lead to improved water quality and water use management; effective land management; reduce vulnerability and strengthen resiliency to natural disasters; and expand and improve biodiversity conservation.
The programme has five elements namely: to improve management of ecosystems; provide institutional capacity to manage natural assets; establish more environmentally sustainable rural enterprises; provide monitoring, audit, evaluation, support costs and project management.
Achievements for this programme up to March 2007 include: training in new technologies in environmental management; preparation of an institutional framework for managing the national system for protected areas; strengthening Jamaica’s implementation of the Blue Flag programme; and the purchase of necessary equipment.
Among the targets anticipated for this fiscal year are: the development of a research programme for Jamaica’s system of protected areas; a public education/awareness programme on protected areas; workshops on land use management in watershed areas; and restoration of at least one degraded mangrove forest.
The project, which got underway in December 2006, is being financed by the Government of Jamaica and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It is part of the USAID’s broader 2005-2009 development assistance portfolio for Jamaica.

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