Jamaica Conservation Partners donates US$110,000 to enviro causes

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Jamaica Conservation Partners (JCP) yesterday made its first donation of US$110,000 to three charities: Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), and White River Fish Sanctuary (WRFS).

The three will receive US$60,000, US$30,000, and US$20,000, respectively, over the next three years.

“The JCP is a consortium of friends of the Jamaican environment here and abroad who want to invest in the protection and preservation of Jamaica's environment, and chose these three charities to make an impact,” revealed Stephen Facey, head of JCP, prior to the handover at PANJAM Investment Limited's boardroom in Kingston.

He explained that each project's three-year duration will ensure that the impact will be far-reaching and long-lasting.

That sentiment was echoed by Suzanne Stanley, deputy CEO of JET: “We are thrilled to receive this donation, which has several important elements — it is a three-year commitment, it allows us to pay for core and indirect costs, the administrative burden is light, and it supports JET's vital law and advocacy programme,” Stanley said.

“Funding for civil society groups is all generally short term, covering only direct project costs — including time-consuming and complex administrative requirements — and often donors shy away from advocacy. JET's non-exhaustive list of advocacy and legal activities not usually funded includes reviews of environmental impact assessments; responding to complaints from the public; site visits; correspondence; legal advice; access to information requests and meetings; as well as preparing position papers on issues of national importance such as the fact sheet on coal as a source of energy for Jamaica presented in October 2016. With this donation from JCP we can continue to be a voice for Jamaica's natural resources.”

The protection of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park and World Heritage Site, managed by the JCDT, will also receive funding. Those monies will be used primarily to mark key park boundaries to enhance enforcement and compliance, as well as raise awareness.

“Within the three-year time frame, at least three areas will be identified and boundaries located on the ground,” explained Dr Susan Otuokon, executive director of JCDT.

“In addition to the placement of marker signs along the boundary, larger signs will be produced and placed at key vantage points so that community members and visitors can clearly identify the park boundary at a distance.

“The first area has already been identified as the 9.4-kilometre stretch between Cinchona and Abbey Green, while areas to be investigated will be the Irish Town/Newcastle/Holywell area, and the Nanny Town/John's Hall area. The boundary lines will be planted with fast-growing native trees,” Dr Otuokon said.

The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park protects 41,000 hectares of forest and freshwater ecosystems, are a special habitat for thousands of plant and animal species, and is critical watershed for Kingston and eastern Jamaica, and the forests help mitigate against and adapt to climate change.

Marine life, also affected by climate change, will have an added layer of protection with the setting up of the WRFS to secure the boundaries along the reef west and east of White River.

The White River Marine Association and the almost 35 members of White River Fishermen's Association aim to improve overall diversity of the coastline.

“We aim to aim to create a 370-plus acre 'Special Fishery Conservation Area' in a community-led project with local fisherman” explained Belinda Morrow, director of the WRFS. “The local fishermen want to help rejuvenate marine life (mainly fish and corals, sea urchins, crustaceans) to an area off the shores of St Ann and St Mary that will rebuild the coral reefs in the areas for the benefit of locals, tourists, and businesses. The donation to the WRFS will go directly into the salaries of eight warders to patrol the sanctuary over the next three years.”

The association requested help to establish a 'no-take zone', as they have observed their catch reduced and reefs depleted. The fisherfolk believe that keeping fishermen out of the area will remove one of the stresses on the ecosystem, giving fish numbers and the coral a chance to recover.

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