Nature Conservancy Pledges Support for Environmental NGOs


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has indicated that it will remain steadfast in its commitment to support institutional capacity building in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are involved in environment conservation.
The steely resolve of TNC is timely, in light of the anticipated implementation of the New Companies Act early next year, which will call for greater fiscal and fiduciary responsibility on the part of businesses and organisations.
“We have to make sure that the entities responsible for managing protected areas are well serviced. The Nature Conservancy’s role is to bring all the elements together – financial and otherwise -for these entities to properly utilise their resources in order to both maximise and be efficient at managing the natural resources,” Terry Williams, Programme Director for TNC in Jamaica told JIS News in an interview.
To this end, the Nature Conservancy, whose mission is “to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters that they need to survive’ hosted Conservation Training Week from November 15-19 under the theme, ‘Connectivity – Strengthening the Linkages in Jamaica’s Conservation Movement.’ The function was held at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
Present at the weeklong session were representatives from eight conservation oriented NGOs – Jamaica Conservation Development Trust, Montego Bay Marine Park Trust, Friends of the Sea, Portland Environmental Protection Agency, Negril Environmental Protection Trust, Dolphin Head Trust, Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society and Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation.
In assessing the training week, which was the first of its kind held in Jamaica, Mr. Williams said the event was a resounding success, with a large number of participants attending the daily activities. In fact, an average of 60 participants attended the first four days of the event, which covered topics pertaining to fundraising/income generation and tourism and marketing. “We were very pleased with the response,” Mr. Williams said, adding that there was the distinct possibility that the Conservation Training Week would be held annually.
The special week, he explained, was the culmination of approximately 15 months of work, which saw the evaluation of all the conservation organisations with management responsibilities for protected areas.
During the evaluation process, a consultant, who was brought in from the United States, sat with each organisation to conduct an in depth review. “Each evaluation took about two months. It was a drawn out process that involved a wide cross section of the organisations,” Mr. Williams informed JIS News.
“Having conducted the evaluations, segments of the workshops focused on high priority findings of the various assessments. The final workshop dealt with executive directors and board members of these organisations in the area of governance, which was one of the findings from the evaluations,” the Programme Director further noted.
“The workshops also focused on those general areas that we felt could be strengthened by the numbers in a workshop setting,” he added.
During the training week, each organisation had an opportunity to work one on one for two days, with the various experts on particular problems, who facilitated the “sketching out of short term plans”.
“Those respective plans are what they will focus on and use in trying to remedy problems,” Mr. Williams said.
The organisations will also continue to benefit from the services of the experts, who will be either flown in or located here in Jamaica to facilitate the process of change. “The organisations now have a better road map and it is just a question of carving out what happens in 2005 and onwards,” Mr. Williams pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Programme Director disclosed plans to launch an electronic network that would replicate “face to face” encounters, such as the sessions that took place during Conservation Training Week. “It will be on a more dynamic basis so most of these things will be available on the website and they (the NGOs) will be able to keep in touch with the various experts through the interactive process,” Mr. Williams explained to JIS News.
The website for the Nature Conservancy is www.nature.org.

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