FAO and The Government of Bahamas develop national strategy to protect and preserve forests
28 August 2023
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Forestry Unit within the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources is taking steps to protect The Bahamas’ forest cover and sustainable management of forests.
Stakeholders at the Inception Workshop for the ‘Preparation of Strategic Framework to Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Bahamas’ project.
This initiative stems from an inception workshop held on August 24, which is a first step under a new Green Climate Fund (GCF) project entitled ‘Preparation of Strategic Framework to Reduce Deforestation and Forest Degradation in the Bahamas’ project. The objective of the project is to improve the planning and monitoring of forest and land-use activities for mitigation and adaptation. Another key priority will be the development of an institutional framework to integrate different data and information sources for climate change reporting.
In response to climate challenges which include sea-level rise and financial and environmental impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms, the country has developed robust responses to strengthen resilience mechanisms. The Bahamas has since established a Climate Change and Environmental Advisory Unit, developed a National Climate Adaptation Policy, and amended the Forestry Act to recognize the importance of implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.
Nevertheless, a critical gap remains in accessing climate finance, specifically concerning deforestation and forest degradation reduction. The GCF project will support the national effort to tackle climate change by improving coordination and institutional arrangements within the Government of the Bahamas.
FAO Representative for Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize, Dr Crispim Moreira who addressed the workshop said, “Our aim is to bolster capacity and coordination among stakeholders, ensuring that we can effectively reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Moreover, by integrating nature-based solutions, we reinforce our commitment to mitigating climate change impacts while nurturing our precious natural heritage.”
“This project is of monumental importance for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas as it will supply data required on our national forest resources throughout our family islands. This work will enable our country to effectively report about our terrestrial resources across all ecosystems from Mangroves, Coppice forests and our Pine Forests, with specific focus on our Central and Southern islands”, said Acting Director, The Forestry Unit, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Danielle Hanek.
Hanek further mentioned that “based on the success of this project, our country will then be able to have more access to Climate Finance opportunities while advancing the Forestry sector of The Bahamas."
The workshop laid the groundwork for a ‘Reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries’ (REDD+) strategy, through the participation of stakeholders steering committee and other key stakeholders from Nassau, Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama, in addition to global experts from NGOs.
The long-term goal is to establish a National Forest and Land-Use Monitoring System, and enhance capacity for mainstreaming data collection, analysis and application within the Land-use, Land-use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) sector.