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Five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are undertaking projects geared towards the conservation, management and sustainable development of the island’s forest sector, have been provided with $5 million in grant funding by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The beneficiary groups are: the Dolphin Head Trust, Friends of the Sea, Northern Jamaica Conservation Association, Northern Rio Minho Local Forest Management Committee, and the Jamaica Tree Growers Association.
FAO’s Representative to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Dunstan Campbell, in addressing the signing ceremony held today (September 12) at the organization’s offices in Lady Musgrave Road, said that the funds were being made available under year two of the FAO’s National Forest Programme Facility for Jamaica.
He explained that the grants would assist the agencies to execute projects or activities that were geared towards the development of the island’s forest cover.
According to Mr. Dunstan, Jamaica’s natural environment, like most Caribbean territories, was “extremely fragile (and) mismanagement of forested areas can impact adversely on lowland and coastal areas. Increased flooding, drought, destruction of coastal floral and fauna are all symptomatic of the mismanagement of our forested areas”.
“It is hoped that through this facility, the foundation will be set for building the necessary awareness and institutional arrangement for effective and efficient management to take place,” he stated.
The National Forest Programme Facility for Jamaica was launched in 2004, to provide approximately $18 million in grant funding to NGOs and other community-based organizations, to undertake projects geared towards the conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests.
The three-year project is administered by the Forestry Department, which will receive some $1.9 million to assist in its forest management activities, including conducting workshops and in-service training, policy analysis as well as information sharing and knowledge management initiatives.
To be eligible for grant funding, the organizations must be based in Jamaica and must contribute approximately 20 per cent of the resources to implement the proposed activity.
“The signatories are those successful projects that met the criteria for the objective of the facility. Some of the objectives are livelihood alternatives, market research, private forest management, forest resource evaluation, advocacy and risk management,” Mr. Dunstan informed.