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Caribbean Biological Corridor

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Caribbean Biological Corridor

I. General information

Countries involved: Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and their representatives, coordinated by UNEP/ROLAC in Panama. Jamaica and Porto Rico are currently observers.

Project objective"Preserving biodiversity and integrating communities into a harmonious development with Nature"

Funding: GEF, WFP (world food program: http://www.wfp.org), European Union

Amount: 42,738,615 USD, that is to say approximately 31 million Euros.

Timetable :  Action plan adopted in August 2009, schedule unavailable

Website: upcoming

Contacts:

 UNEP-ROLAC: Mark D. Griffith
 Cuba: Ministry for the Environment
 Dominican Republic Ministry for the Environment
 Haiti : Ministry for the Environment
 
CBC_en

II. Description

Approximately 15% of territories in the Dominican Republic and Cuba are currently protected, but less than 2% in Haiti.

The Ministries for the Environment in Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic agreed on Tuesday 7 August 2007 to create a biological corridor in the Caribbean in response to climate change threats to the region.

In August 2009, representatives from these three countries met again in Port-au-Prince to develop this project and clarify its action plan. The latter was already mentioned in 2007 and presented at the Copenhagen summit, which took place from 7 to 18 December in Denmark.

It touches upon each “mainstay” of sustainable development.

The social mainstay:

Establishing a coherent environmental policy goes hand in hand with improving a territory’s living conditions. In these islands, we did indeed notice that excessive use of natural resources is linked to poverty. It is in fact due to Haiti’s socio-economic vulnerability that Haitian forests have for years been cleared of its trees, the wood being used amongst other things as fuel for the population.

The environmental mainstay:

This biological corridor is a similar concept to European green and blue belts. These belts are planning tools that help to define both green areas and expanses of water and watercourses needing protection. These areas create continuity between regions sheltering exceptional biodiversity or are set up along migration areas for certain species.

The Caribbean environment offers immeasurable riches. All archipelago islands - large and small – abound in native flora and fauna and therefore species that can only be found in the region. The corridor must protect both the terrestrial ecosystems and the marine environment. If this project sees the light, the three islands will benefit from a structured, common environmental policy. This is essential, bearing in mind the proximity that encourages the diffusion of pollution as well as the resulting environmental impacts. This protection corridor must also help to anticipate the consequences of climate change on the region’s ecosystems.

The economic mainstay:

Aside from the obvious protection given to the natural environment, the Biological corridor could in the long term represent a financial manna for these islands. Creating this corridor would notably lead to the creation of direct jobs such as environmental protection officers, research units, and even an environmental police, as well as employment linked to ecotourism in regions better known for their private tourist enclaves along the beach.

On 2 February 2010, France, via its Ambassador, signed a common declaration with the Dominican Republic Ministry for the Environment notably asserting “that France is very much considering becoming a member of this corridor”, in view of “coordinating projects between all Caribbean islands regarding matters such as the preservation of biodiversity, the regeneration of coral reefs, the monitoring of water quality, the protection of marine mammals and the seed bank…”.

Programme’s main actions:

  • Reforestation programme for adaptation to climate change and decreased poverty: 23M$ US,
  • Managing the main ecosystems along the CBC coastal areas: 89,750$,
  • Rapid ecological assessments of the CBC’s main coastal ecosystems: 70,650$,
  • Elements for creating a biosphere reserve in Haiti: 31,000$,
  • Managing sea turtle nests along the South-east coast of Cuba, the North-east and South-East coasts of Haiti and the South-East coast of the Dominican Republic: 262,680$,
  • Studying invasive alien species on the island of Hispaniola: 70,000$,
  • Organising a professional development seminar for local communities in Haiti: 65,600$,
  • Creating a project website: 61,302$,
  • Planning and consolidating the CBC project: 13,4$.
Nota:
- there are, as yet, no clear details on activities linked to the protection of marine mammals or the creation or better management of marine protected areas;
- the project’s positioning in relation to the Cartagena Convention and its SPAW protocol is not explicitly detailed in the available documents.
 

III. News

The last meeting took place in April 2010 in the Dominican Republic. Discussions are in progress regarding the programme’s physical location (choice of host country), and the choice and methods for recruiting the team in charge of running the programme.

Moreover, certain adjustments to the programme should be made in order to take into account the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti that wreaked havoc in the country and certain scheduled activities.

The next meeting discussing these issues is scheduled for 16 to 18 November 2010 in the Dominican Republic.