Honduras to restore 295,000 hectares of protected land

Tegucigalpa, Sep 30 (EFE).- Honduras will restore 295,000 hectares of protected land with an almost $10-million project financed by the Global Environment Facility and supported by the United Nations.

An agreement was signed Thursday in Tegucigalpa by the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MiAmbiente), Liliam Rivera, and the resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Richard Barathe.

The document was also signed by Honduran Vice Foreign Minister for International Cooperation and Promotion, Karen Najarro, and the representative of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dennis Latimer.

The Recover program is funded by more than $9.8 million from the Global Environment Facility and will be managed by UNDP and FAO.

Barathe told Efe that Recover seeks in the next seven years to “restore, protect and conserve” 295,000 hectares of forests, which represents at least a third of Honduras’ commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The project, which will cover the equivalent of around 70,000 soccer fields, will directly benefit 26,000 people in the department of Atlántida, he said.

UNDP will support “green” economic development models in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, among other areas.

Although Honduras only contributes marginally to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is a country “most vulnerable to natural disasters,” Barathe said.

The program will be carried out in the Jeannette Kawas National Park, the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge and the Pico Bonito National Park, among others, which are threatened by population growth, subsistence needs and intensive production sectors, according to the authorities.

Latimer told Efe that the program is “very ambitious” and has “several very important components in the recovery of degraded soils, the connection of protected areas and the protection of biodiversity in national parks.”

The initiative seeks to make the livelihoods of at least 26,000 people “more sustainable” and environmentally friendly, he added.

“As a country we have to be able to move forward, conserving our natural resources, and this project will support a large part to reach those objectives,” he said.

As part of the program, FAO will work with livestock sector associations and communities to rehabilitate systems that have been degraded by poor agricultural practices.

The head of MiAmbiente said that Honduras has “great natural wealth” in protected areas, but is also “highly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change due to its geographical location.

However, Rivera pointed out that “needs and conflicts emerge and these protected areas are suddenly beginning to be lost.”

The Recover project seeks to care for the environment by placing the individual at the center to be “a beneficiary of environmental attributes and management,” she said.

The program will begin in the last quarter of 2021. EFE


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