Greeting by UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune to Bus Billboard Unveiling event hosted by NEPANov 3, 2016
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune
Bus Billboard Unveiling event hosted by NEPA under the UNDP Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project
Thursday, November 3, 2016 @ 11:30 a.m., Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston
Mr. Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer, NEPA, Mrs. Vivienne Williams-Thompson, Director, Planning, Projects, Evaluation and Research, NEPA, Members of the Project Steering Committee, Other Colleagues from the Ministries, Ladies and gentlemen, Good Afternoon
I am delighted to represent UNDP at this timely and relevant event this morning. Empowering people through human development is at the core of UNDP’s role, and we recognize the contribution that ecosystems, natural resources and in particular protected areas can play in ensuring sustainable livelihoods of persons. Jamaica’s economy is highly dependent on its natural resources, and ecosystems play a critical role in addressing the impacts of climate change.
Recognizing the important role of the country’s protected areas and the challenges to manage them, UNDP partnered with the Government of Jamaica to implement the Strengthening the Operational and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System (NPAS) Project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP to the tune of US$2.2 million, with support from the Government. National Protected Areas are land and sea locations that receive special protection because of their recognized natural, ecological and cultural values. In Jamaica, this special protection status has been accorded to several locations of inestimable value. For example, one of these important sites is the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park which was recently inscribed to the UNESCO prestigious World Heritage List, a first for Jamaica, the first mixed cultural and natural site for the Caribbean and one of only 32 mixed sites in the world.
These valuable assets are not only physically beautiful but they also hold the key to the delicate ecological balance and biological diversity of the nation.
The NPAS project, which began in 2010, aims to preserve Jamaica’s rich biodiversity by rationalizing and integrating the national system of protected areas. The project’s achievement to date includes the setting up of the National Conservation Trust Fund of Jamaica, to provide sustainable financing for protected areas management, and the formulation of a draft overarching policy and recommendations for legislation related to the effective management of protected areas.
We are also happy to report that to date an estimated US$4.2 million has been deposited to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) on Jamaica’s behalf comprising UNDP funds of US$750,000 and KfW funds of US$3.5 million.
As such I congratulate the NEPA and partner agencies for having the creative foresight to place moving billboards related to Jamaica’s National Protected Area System on our city’s public transportation.
This highly visible promotional opportunity allows a significant number of persons travelling throughout the Kingston Metroplitan Area to view, visually appealing messages and images highlighting the value and benefits of Jamaica’s protected natural assets. The concept of an area for the protection of natural resources can, with strategic thinking, translate to tangible and relatable communication messages.
Today’s unveiling and launch of the bus billboard designs is one of many activities under a multifaceted communication strategy under this project. Building awareness and visibility of activities will support the achievement of objectives by fostering support among beneficiary populations and stakeholders. Communicating the value of protected areas and the need for proper management is directly linked to achieving those Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. As such the general public must see themselves reflected in this noble ideal articulated in the SDGs, and understand the impact their positively reinforcing behaviours can have on their own quality of life. The communication strategy must adopt an inclusive and participatory approach to activities, allowing beneficiaries the opportunity to contribute ideas, while utilizing an appropriate mix of traditional and non-traditional tools to secure buy-in and support. Indeed, the average person must not only have a clear idea of the protected areas, but of the specific practices required to support their protection.
UNDP therefore welcomes this multifaceted approach to communications with the hope that the Government will be able to secure increased awareness, knowledge and behaviour change within Protected Areas and promote sustainable use of the country’s rich endowment of natural resources. We once again congratulate NEPA and its partners for executing these catchy billboard designs and urge the public to take heed to these important messages by becoming responsible stewards of Jamaica’s rich natural resources for present and future generations.