Coral reef cushion
AMID a push to lessen the degradation of the region’s coral reef ecosystems, Jamaica has been selected among four regional states to benefit from a project for conserving and restoring the marine environment.
The other countries are Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The project called CoralCarib was designed by a global environmental organisation called Nature Conservancy and six other regional partners, and is being funded by the German Government through its Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection and International Climate Initiative at approximately eight million euros.
It will provide an innovative and science-based path towards coral reef resilience and economic benefits for local communities, as it relates to climate change.
Executive director of The Nature Conservancy Caribbean Division Dr Rob Brumbaugh described the project as a multi-step journey which was developed in 2019.
“This project was developed to determine international climate initiative and that step brought a lot of rigour, thought and encourages organisations to put their heads together and say who can do what. This coalition began working together more than three years ago to generate the ideas and see what it is that we want to do, how we want to do it, and to what end,” Brumbaugh told the Jamaica Observer following the launch of the project on Tuesday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew.
Brumbaugh said that there will be several workshops and public education sessions to spread awareness about CoralCarib, which should run for the next six years.
“A lot of things are going to go in parallel, which will be local capacity-building workshops, outreach to local partners, fishers, business owners who would like to be involved in coral conservation and restoration. We have some outreach and education to do, we have permits to seek and secure from the Government to make sure we are allowed to do activities such as transplanting and growing coral reefs,” he explained.
In the meantime minister with responsibility for the environment Matthew Samuda said Jamaica is pleased to be one of the countries benefiting from this important regional initiative.
He said the flagship initiative is anticipated to result in approximately 113 hectares of coastal and marine environments being restored.
“It will be important that there is cross-fertilisation, as well as the sharing of best practices and scientific and technical expertise between CoralCarib and the United Nation’s flagship initiative,” said Samuda.
“The CoralCarib project will complement the measures of the Government and will ensure that we are pursuing adequate conservation of the islands marine and coastal eco systems, especially our coral reefs,” added Samuda.
At the same time, Germany’s Ambassador to Jamaica Jan Henrik van Theil, who noted that the coral reef degradation situation is dire, said, “Glaciers are melting, the temperatures are rising, not only in the air but also in the sea, the weather patterns are erratic, we are in the reaction mood all the time and also the sea is getting warmer and the coral reef is bleaching.”
Expressing the German Government’s interest in supporting the initiative the ambassador said: “It is a regional project, it is looking at the degradation of coral reefs and addressing in the appropriate regional framework. It is a challenging one and for a diplomat, it is fascinating to see this consortium of four countries coming together which is quite diverse.”
Other major activities of project include improving local capacity to carry out sustainable livelihood activities for reef-dependent communities, assessing and sharing the value of coral reef ecosystem services and enhance enabling conditions through policy and resource mobilisation.