The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is encouraging Corporate Jamaica to partner with it on its Adopt-A-Mangrove programme.
The undertaking is a new initiative by NEPA and an extension of wetland restoration projects and other volunteer efforts geared towards the protection, conservation, and replenishment of mangroves.
Revitalising this vital ecosystem will serve to strengthen the core function of mangroves, which is to absorb Jamaica’s storm surge impacts and prevent soil erosion.
In February, utility firm Jamaica Public Service Company Limited/Jamaica Public Service Foundation Limited became the programme’s first ‘adopters’. This, by adopting the Sturridge Park plot along the Palisadoes Road and providing support in the sum of $7 million over five years.
Speaking during a virtual press conference on Thursday (March 30), NEPA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Peter Knight, who extended the invitation for private-sector stakeholder support on the programme, indicated that the initiative “will also support the expansion of the citizen science approach, as local communities will be actively involved in collecting environmental data”.
He further outlined that through the initiative, NEPA will be promoting blended finance for management of protected areas. This, the CEO explained, by leveraging private financing and encouraging the private sector to invest in biodiversity as a part of their corporate responsibility.
The Adopt-A-Mangrove programme is aligned with the tenets of major environmental multilateral agreements.
These include the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, with the aim of supporting and scaling up efforts to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems with the involvement of the entire society, particularly the local community and private sector.
The programme is tiered and allows corporate entities to choose a preferred contribution method, depending on their capacity.
\NEPA will assist with out-planting and monitoring activities, such as removing solid waste from the area and erecting barriers to safeguard mangrove saplings.