(PRESS RELEASE) – Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development Mrs. Jolita Butkeviciene has recommitted the support of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica’s efforts to build resilience to climate change.
Ms. Butkeviciene indicated that the EU’s current allocation of €15m (approximately $J2.5 billion) under the Budget Support Programme to Jamaica to fight the degradation of Jamaica’s forests is part of this thrust.
Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Jolita Butkeviciene, has praised the Jamaican Government’s initiative to plant three million tress over the next three years “It’s something that really raises awareness and builds an all-of-society-approach”
She said the European Union is committed to fighting the degradation of forests across the globe and here in Jamaica “The best way to do this is by preserving our natural resources and the first natural resource that comes to mind are our forests”.
The European Union official was speaking recently (March 9) at the launch of the media campaign for the EU funded Budget Support Programme for the Jamaican Forest Sector, aimed at aaddressing environmental and climate change challenges through improved forest management.
The money will be used to assist with the implementation of the Forest Policy for Jamaica (2017) and the National Forest Management and Conservation Plan, 2016-2026. A component of the support is a three-year €850,000 (J$128 million) technical assistance programme.
The Forestry Department’s Acting Chief Executive Officer and Conservator of Forests, Rainee Oliphant said her Agency is very excited about the technical assistance, which is being provided by the EU, a component of which will facilitate the development of a business model for the organisation. “We want to go beyond being a technical repository of information and become a revenue generating organisation as well. It is a good time for the local forest sector”.
“The visibility programme will bring much needed attention to our forest sector generally, and the work of the Forestry Department specifically” she added.
A jingle and videos showcasing the beauty and uniqueness of Jamaica’s forests and encouraging their preservation were unveiled during the launch and will anchor the public outreach campaign of the visibility programme. The Visibility programme will build awareness of the Forestry Department and also promote the forest sector by highlighting and engaging communities living in forest dependent areas promoting the impact of actions already implemented.
The event was also attended by the Head of the Delegation of the EU to Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska. Spain’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Joseph Maria Bosch Bessa and officials of the European Union, the Forestry Department and the Forest Sector.