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Haiti- Society: The Ministry of the Environment, the European Union and the FAO are working to improve knowledge of biodiversity and its dynamics in Grand'Anse

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Port au Prince. The department of Grand'Anse is recognized for its rich flora. However, poor agricultural practices, the uncontrolled cutting of trees for various uses, natural disasters including hurricanes, constitute a major problem for ecosystems. Four years later, the region bears the scars of Hurricane Matthew that hit it in October 2016.

Plagued by all these threats, the region faces a lack of scientific data on its biodiversity. Thus, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) and the FAO, in the "land restoration" component of the "Action against desertification (ACD)" project funded by the EU, provided support to the New University Grand'Anse (UNOGA) for the creation of a herbarium within the university. As part of this work, five (5) university dissertations were also produced by UNOGA students in conjunction with the Botanical Garden of Les Cayes (JBC).

“This herbarium is of capital importance for scientific research and any other biodiversity restoration or conservation program. Moreover, it is the only one that now exists in the country; The Erick Ekman National Herbarium in Damien was recently swept away by flames, ”explains the rector of UNOGA, Mr. Maxime Roumer, insisting on the primary purpose of this herbarium, which is to conserve native and indigenous species.

For the FAO Representative in Haiti, Mr. José Luis Fernández, the realization of this herbarium is an important step for the advancement of studies on biodiversity. "To restore ecosystems, it is essential to have reliable and up-to-date data on the different species and their ecological relationship", he declares, arguing that this tool will be useful to many scientific disciplines, as well as contribute to a greater awareness of the need to conserve the biodiversity of Grand'Anse.

For his part, Mr. Kelly Marcia, Departmental Director of the Ministry of the Environment in Grand'Anse, renewed the said ministry's commitment to put in place, together with its partners in civil society, initiatives aimed at protect the environment, especially biodiversity. “The Departmental Directorate expresses, on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment, its satisfaction for the realization of this herbarium which will serve as a place of conservation of the plant diversity of the region and also a reference tool for the identification and conservation of plants from the Grand'Anse department in particular, ”concluded Mr. Marcia.

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For the Ambassador of the European Union in Haiti, Ms. Silvie Tabesse, the establishment of this herbarium in partnership with UNOGA is part of the preservation of biodiversity in the department of Gande'Anse via the EU funded desertification control program in ACP countries, Haiti and Fiji. These activities will make it possible to reconstitute the different species of flora, to consider regeneration strategies for certain ecosystems in order to help fight against climate change.

This approach is at the heart of our growth strategy known as “The Green Deal” which is a mechanism for a just transition in which the transition to a climate neutral economy is carried out in an equitable manner. The EU intends to mobilize at least 100 billion euros over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions.

Action against desertification: a model pilot project

The “Action against desertification in Grand'Anse” project, funded by the European Union (with co-funding from the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the Belgian Development Cooperation), and piloted by the MoE , with technical assistance from the FAO, operates in the communes of Abricots, Bonbon, Dame-Marie, Jérémie and Moron, in the department of Grand'Anse. It is implemented in support of the National Action Programs to Combat Desertification (PAN-LCD).

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