Somewhere in the Caribbean, Natural Girl realizes she has been in a toxic relationship for too long and decides it's time for a long overdue break-up.
Conservation and sustainability of biodiversity in Cuba through the integrated watershed and coastal area management approach.
Biodiversity loss has been identified as one of the principal environment problems affecting Cuba. In light of the need to conserve these globally important natural resources, the sub-project, “Conservation and sustainability of biodiversity in Cuba through the integrated watershed and coastal area management approach,” seeks to strengthen national capacities for the integrated management of critical watersheds and coastal areas that support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The landscape of the country is segregated into 573 watersheds and harbours three of the most important wetlands in the entire Caribbean region. In addition to direct threats to biodiversity, these critical ecosystemsthat will be the focus of the project also face indirect threats from land and soil degradation, loss of forest cover, atmospheric, land and water pollution, compromised availability and quality of freshwater resources. Compounding this situation are the additional negative burdensthat climate change will impose. Consequently, it is national priority to reorient economic development in these target watershed areas to mainstream environmental considerations and reduce or reverse the impacts from unsustainable practices.
Cuba’s National sub-Project will implement integrated environmental management approaches, including land-use planning, good agricultural practices (GAP), better environmental practices (BEP), as well as identify and monitor environmental indicators, utilize mechanisms for strengthening cross-sectorial and inter-institutional coordination, and provide capacity-building in sub-project intervention areas. This sub-project will support the Government of Cuba develop alternative models and options for addressing a wider range of stresses affecting the biodiversity conservation within watersheds and coastal areas elsewhere in the country through up-scaling and replication.
The four sub-project intervention areas that have been selected for this sub-project are located in the western, central and eastern regions of the country and cover a combined surface area of 2,952.4 km2, or 2.69% of the land area of Cuba:
For three of the four selected watersheds: the Guanabo, Arimao and San Juan, the Cuban Government has committed that at least 136.7 km2 of existing forest cover will be protected and sustainably managed through the project. The extent of protected areas within the Agabama watershed will be identified and incorporated during the sub-project’s inception phase. For all four selected watersheds, the project will support the reforestation within impacted ecosystems over 1,690 hectares. Through on-site land and forest cover investments within 1,690 hectares over the target watershed areas, it is expected that an estimated 134,737.8 equivalent tonnes of CO2 over the life of the project, or an average of 26,947.6 tCO2eqv/year will be sequestered.
The four target watershed areas were selected through careful multi-stakeholder consultations in consideration of the approximately one million people living within them, or within their proximity in respect of the various different environmental stresses affecting each. Each site will require unique integrated approaches but will collectively provide Cuba with the experience and expertise to be able to implement a wide range of effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use management actions in the future withinother watershed and coastal locations elsewhere in the country.
Finally, by integrating its work in the GEF focal areas of biodiversity, international waters, land degradation and the cross-cutting theme of sustainable forest management, Cuba looks to implement a comprehensive approach for sustainably managing key natural resources that in turn will contribute to the country’s sustainable economic development.
IWEco.Cuba was launched with the holding of the first National Workshop in November 2018 in the city of Cienfuegos. This was attended by representatives of national and local institutions that support the project and augured well for buy-in to the Project. The workshop was organized into working groups to analyze and reconcile methodological, organizational and financial aspects in order to ensure successful execution of planned activities and achievement of the expected results within the framework of the Regional and sub-National Project.
Work in the area of Communications has been significant, including development of a communication strategy, initial work on the trademark and identity manuals, and the production of several branding and audiovisual products.
Eleven demonstration projects have been approved and will be executed in the different areas of intervention, mainly: reforestation, wastewater treatment, sustainable soil management and, education and community environmental participation. A training program for professionals in innovative subjects that will be addressed by IWEco has begun and progress has also been made in the acquisition of equipment needed to enable project execution.
Please click here to download the Cuba National sub-Project Background document.
Alain Munoz - Caravaca
Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos (CEAC)