Dominican Republic: Government Provides Incentives for Conservation

Photo by Fernando Rossi and used under a Creative Commons license.

The “green” movement is not only sweeping across Western countries like the United States, Australia, and the continent of Europe, but has now spread to the Dominican Republic. The country has apparently decided that it needs to conserve and maintain its resources based on the report from DR1’s environmental blog

The DR's Environment Ministry (SEMARENA) has launched a environmental services payment (PSA) program. The basic concept is to encourage parties — whether communities, farmers, landowners, or others — to act in an environmentally responsible manner by compensating them for behaviors that result in the recovery, conservation and/or sustainable management of natural resources.

This is moderately old news in the world of instant technology as this occurred way back in May of this year. However, what this has begun to produce is a heightened awareness to ecological friendliness in the Dominican. The most recent and forefront of this environmental spirit is the Nature Conservancy and the Caribbean nations collaborating to begin the “Caribbean Challenge”, which is designed to protect the marine life that feeds the Caribbean people and attracts tourism. The reason for this challenge, as Caribbean Beat blogs, is because presently

Destructive fishing methods, pollution, heavy industry, and climate change are degrading regional coral reefs and marine ecosystems, which have a trickle down effect of negatively impacting fishing and tourism industries, and threatening some of the region's unique marine life with extinction.

Blogger Temasactuales writes that he would normally be skeptical about such a governmental endeavor of this monetary proportion ($40 million), but thinks this has positive aspects that might make this project viable. Those things are

  • money — from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) (kudos to TNC for stepping up first to make this happen!), probably the German Government and Global Environment Facility (GEF) as well and maybe even the US Government and World Conservation Union (IUCN) (these latter two helped sponsor the event at which the Challenge was launched);
  • technical help, not only from TNC, but also probably from the UN Environment Programm’s (UNEP) Caribbean office (CEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and groups such as Reef Check
  • mutual reinforcement, not only among themselves, but also from other members of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) (kudos to GLISPA for inspiring some concrete initiatives)

Finally, Christopher Ward, an expat living in the Las Flores area, polled the residents of said area about their environmental concerns. He writes “their major concerns were planting trees, picking up the garbage and rerouting their black water so it isn’t going directly into the river.”

It is promising to see the Dominican Republic, which is tangled in governmental discrepancies, do something to sustain and preserve the beauty that is driving more and more people to vacation here. It is, also, hopeful to notice how they are taking the initiative to feed themselves with the abundance of natural resources at their fingertips.


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