Jamaica's Protected Areas now promoted on public buses

Nov 11, 2016

National Environment and Planning Agency CEO, Peter Knight, pauses after helping to unveil the new bus billboard while sixth right, Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP admires the images. Also assisting are Dr. Elaine Fisher, Chair of the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica, Mrs. Vivienne Williams-Thompson, NEPA’s Director of Planning, Projects, Evaluation and Research, Saskia Frater Smith, Manager of the Planning Institute of Jamaica

[UNDP, 11 November, 2016]:  Moving billboards promoting National Protected Areas are now on public transportation buses traveling Jamaica’s Corporate Area and western parishes, under the UNDP/Global Environment Facility-supported Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project. 

Launched by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners on Thursday 3 November, the buses will ply the Rockfort to Port Royal, Rockfort to Half Way Tree, Montego Bay to Hanover and Montego Bay to Trelawny routes, promoting Jamaica’s National Protected Areas which include parks, national parks, forest reserves, forest management areas and fish sanctuaries..

In her greetings, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Dr. Elsie Laurence-Chounoune lauded the moving billboards as a creative and visually appealing way of getting the message to the general public. “This highly visible promotional opportunity allows a significant number of persons to view visually appealing messages and images highlighting the value and benefits of   Jamaica’s protected natural assets,” she noted.

She welcomed this multifaceted approach to communications and expressed the hope that the Government would be able to secure increased awareness, knowledge and behaviour change within Protected Areas.  She congratulated NEPA and partners for executing the catchy billboard designs and urged the public to take heed to the messages.  

“Building awareness and visibility of activities will support the achievement of objectives by fostering support among beneficiary populations and stakeholders,” she pointed out.

She also informed the gathering that under the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica (NCTFJ) is to benefit from US$4.2 million in deposits held on its behalf in the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF). This deposit is part of a US$5.7 million commitment to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) to be held on behalf of Jamaica’s NCTFJ. Annual interest from funds deposited in the CBF will help to capitalize the Trust Fund and sustainably finance protected areas management in Jamaica.  The CBF is a regional endowment fund set up to provide sustainable financing for the management of biodiversity within protected areas in the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency, Mr. Peter Knight, in his remarks says the NEPA has been busy in the field, encouraging Jamaicans to better understand and appreciate the nation’s biodiversity and to comply with relevant legislation aimed at securing livelihoods.

He informed the gathering that NEPA’s bus billboards are one of the mass media initiatives designed to reach pedestrians, bus passengers, the cyclists, the motor bike riders, all motor vehicle operators and users of the nation’s roads. Mr. Knight also said that the public education strategies would foster awareness of the NPAS project.

He invited the public to share the key messages of the campaign with friends, families and stakeholders, noting “after all, our lives really do depend on it”.

The NPAS project, which began in 2010, aims to preserve Jamaica’s rich biodiversity by rationalizing and integrating the national system of protected areas. In addition to the NCTFJ, the project’s achievement to date includes the setting up of the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica, , and  the formulation of a draft overarching policy and recommendations for legislation related to the effective management of protected areas.

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