Havana, Feb 26 (Prensa Latina) Caribbean representatives, non-governmental organizations and UN expert agencies began today in this capital a meeting of the leading committee of the Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF-IWEco Project).
This initiative, coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), includes national projects in Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Navis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the regional contribution by Barbados and Grenada.
GEF-IWEco is a regional multi-focal project designed for a five-year term (2017-2022) that includes elements related to biodiversity, land degradation, international waters, sustainable forest management and a small-financing aid program.
UNEP Regional Project Coordinator Jan Betlem said GEF-IWEco had the objective of contributing to the preservation of ecosystems in the Caribbean and the sustainability of the means of life, applying existing verified technologies and proper approaches for small island developing States
Lorna Inniss, form the UNEP coordinating office for the Caribbean, said integrating water, land and ecosystems was the only way to make progress regarding the regional goals in reference to sustainable development.
She added that despite the existence of national projects, the initiative had a greater scope. Thus, joint efforts were required.
According to Odalys Goicochea, director for the environment at the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, protection of the environment and natural resources were strategic issues in the process to update the Cuban economic system and its agenda up to 2030, due to the importance of sustainable development for those purposes.
Goicochea explained that the work by Cuba was focused on three general objectives: preservation of natural resources and stopping deterioration of ecosystems, fighting climate change and increasing the environment quality.
The event agenda includes, among other activities, the presentation of the working plan for 2018 a nd the visit to the community Peñas Altas, where a urban-waste treatment program is being carried out.