PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – In Haiti, centuries of man-made deforestation have left the land bare and exposed. In addition, major rainfalls have caused a constant degradation of the environment, and today Haiti’s forest cover is less than 2%. Forests are an indispensible aspect of the Haitian environment. As a Haitian mother, Troimène Siméon remarks, “Reforestation, that’s life. By reforesting the mountains, water sources will be protected and that will prevent landslides.”
Fortunately, the UNDP has implemented programs focusing on reforestation in Haiti. Over the last two years, record progress has been made. Thanks to efforts by UNDP to reduce vulnerability in the South, which was launched along with government authorities, 1.5 million seedlings were planted over 1,000 hectares of land in the regions from Aquin and Saint-Louis. The program encourages women to participate, and in 2012 it created 3,600 temporary jobs each month, which were mostly occupied by women.
Another project, Green Borders, which was launched in 2011, is on track to achieve its goals. Already, it has reforested 300 hectares, created 300 jobs, established 3 nurseries, and benefited 12 rural communities. The program has four main areas of focus: reforestation, local capacity building, the demonstration of sustainable alternatives, and the consolidation of bi-national cooperation. By creating favorable environments in Haiti, it is helping to reduce vulnerability to climate change and improve the living conditions of local communities. Additionally, 4,000 meters of riverbank protection walls have been built in order to protect communities from floods and heavy rains.
As climate change becomes a greater threat, it is the poorer communities that are in the most vulnerable positions. Over time, UNDP hopes to strengthen the preparedness and resilience of communities in coastal areas, so that they are better prepared to cope with climate change.
– Chloe Isacke
Sources: UNDP, Haiti Libre
Sources: Mangoes Lemonade