Forestry sector receives EU funding to support public finance management
A section of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain

THE Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), in partnership with the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) and the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust (JCDT), yesterday launched a two-year forestry management project funded by the European Union.

The project has received funding of €290,065 or over $41 million in capital that aims to build capacity across civil society groups in an effort to strengthen public finance management (PFM) while improving governance and accountability, fiscal control, efficiency and effectiveness in resource control. It also seeks to address recommendations outlined in a 2017 report focused on updating PFM reform action plans, with an intention to increase public access to fiscal information.

Dubbed a first of its kind for the region, Head of the European Union’s Delegation to Jamaica Ambassador Marianne Van Steen lauded the project as an innovative one.

“We have identified four projects with civil society that work in the field of forestry, and we are happy that we are now launching a very important and innovative one. Through this project we would like to speed up the process and widen the capacity for civil society to engage in participatory budgeting and financial management for the forestry segment in Jamaica,” she said during a virtual launch on Thursday.

VAN STEEN...Through this project we would like to speed up the process and widen the capacity for civil society to engage in participatory budgeting and financial management for the forestry segment in Jamaica.

“We also hope that the project will equip civil society organisations with the toolkit needed to work together with Government regarding the budgetary planning and the activation of the country’s national forestry management and conservation plan,” she added, noting that with the EU placing the fight against climate change among its highest proprieties this year, they have decided that a large part of the funds to be disbursed will be dedicated to these areas.

The project, which will run up to November 2023, targets civil society groups and other beneficiaries including public sector forest managers, policymakers and budget decision-makers, along with direct forest users. The sites targeted for the project locally comprise the Portland Bight protected area, the Blue and John Crow Mountains, and the Cockpit country.

According to Ainsley Henry, chief executive officer (CEO) and conservator of forest in the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the project will have a transformative impact on the local forestry sector.

“We anticipate a sector that is more structured and accountable in expenditures as this project can only help it to grow and become more sustainable. As the sector attracts more funding, transparency and efficiency in how funds are expended is critical to the credibility with funders. We are pleased that this project will help to address these gaps through training. The launch of this project will significantly lay the foundation for the work that will significantly advance the sector and make it more resilient,” he stated.

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