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Haiti to combat environmental decay with IDB funds

The Inter-American Development Bank on Sept. 23 approved a $3.44 million grant to help Haiti combat rapid environmental degradation through the integration of sustainable land and forest management practices.

The grant, financed by the IDB/Global Environment Facility (GEF), will support reforestation in key watersheds in the southwestern part of the country as well as implementation of a carbon stock and sequestration monitoring system to help prevent greenhouse gas emissions in the area, which is home to the 7,500-hectare Macaya Park.

Haiti has lost virtually all of its forests, and severe land erosion in this mountainous country intensifies during the hurricane season, undermining efforts to improve living conditions in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.

The project to be funded by the grant funds will be executed over four years and has four components:

Component 1 will strengthen national watershed administration capacity based on a sustainable land and forest management (SLFM) approach and municipal capacity in land use planning. This will include measures to improve the management of Macaya Park in a joint effort between the Environment Ministry and local communes.

Component 2 will support a program to adopt SLFM technologies to boost planters' and breeders' revenues. These measures are intended to build local capacity to protect soil and sequester carbon while favoring fruit and timber tree plantations and greater livestock productivity in the upper parts of the watersheds.

This component will also help to restore 200 hectares of Macaya Park forests, solve land tenure conflicts, build small dams and water tanks, promote sheep breeding, and co-finance a coffee-washing center.

Component 3 will use help to clarify the complex land tenure situation within and around the park and to proceed with its physical demarcation, a crucial measure for its effective protection and management.

Component 4 will set aside $308,000 to monitor and help prevent GHG emissions and promote carbon sequestration in the area.

The IDB-GEF grant will complement a $30 million grant for Haiti that the IDB approved earlier this month to finance anti-flooding works in three critical watersheds and promote sustainable agriculture development (see link to press release at right).

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