KINGSTON, Jamaica —The Cabinet has cleared the way for Jamaica to become a member of the Caribbean Biological Corridor Initiative (CBCI).
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, made the announcement in Parliament today.
Providing background on the Initiative, Samuda noted that the CBCI arose out of a 2007 political declaration from Ministers of the Environment of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, to partner in the long-term conservation of biodiversity based on environmental connectivity within the Greater Antilles beyond political boundaries.
The Senator noted that the CBCI has been widely recognised as an important example of South-South cooperation and aims to increase the ecological connectivity across the Greater Antilles.
“Preserving this connectivity among the island states of the Greater Antilles is important as this will contribute to the sustainable management of ecosystems and the services they provide (for example, the provision of food, fuel and water; carbon storage and regulation of climate, erosion and flood control; heritage and culture, and nutrient and water cycling) which support several key economic sectors within these countries, including health, agriculture, fisheries, and tourism,” Samuda stated.
The CBCI aims to build significant positive linkages between conservation, connectivity, livelihoods and poverty reduction through selected field activities and a targeted communication programme.
“Implementation of the CBCI will assist in raising awareness of the importance of the healthy and productive ecosystems to the economic growth and development, and social well-being of the Member countries. The projects and programmes implemented under the CBCI will be synergised with similar programmes and stakeholders under other regional initiatives to ensure maximum benefit to the participating countries,” Samuda added.
He further stated that biodiversity conservation, as well as its sustainable use, are critical to the achievement of the targets under Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life below Water) and 15 (Life on Land).
“Indeed, the importance of biodiversity to a country’s economic growth and development as well as social well-being cannot be over-emphasized. Goal 4 of Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan is that ‘Jamaica has a healthy natural environment’. National Outcome 13, one of four National Outcomes, under this Goal focuses on the Sustainable Management and Use of Environmental and Natural Resource,” Samuda said.
Jamaica has declared several marine and terrestrial protected areas, in recognition of the value of ecosystem services to human beings. Most recently, the Cabinet approved the declaration of the Black River and the Cockpit Country as protected areas under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act.
To date, approximately 25 per cent and 12 per cent of the country’s terrestrial and marine areas are legally declared protected areas.